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City of Rome gets clean audit report

Wednesday, September 27, 2023–2:36 p.m.

-David Crowder, WRGA News-

Christopher McKellar (center) with Mauldin & Jenkins goes over the 2022 Financial & Compliance Audit Summary during Wednesday’s Rome Finance Committee meeting.

Christopher McKellar, engagement lead partner with Mauldin & Jenkins was at Wednesday’s Rome Finance Committee meeting to discuss and analyze the Financial & Compliance Audit Summary for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2022.

McKellar said they issued an unmodified or clean opinion, meaning all the final statements present fairly in all material respects.

The ACFR goes beyond the normal financial reporting as required by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

“It has an introductory section including a letter of transmittal, organizational chart, and a directory of officials,” McKellar told the committee. “It also has statistical information, which is a ten-year history of various items like financial trends, and operating statistics.”

The report noted that the City of Rome should be commended for going beyond the minimum standards.

“The finance department should be proud of the work that they put into it,” McKellar added. “There is a lot of work that goes into producing this. They do a great job and have everything ready when we show up, which is wonderful for us.”

The general fund, which is the main operating fund, showed revenues of approximately $35 million on Dec. 31, 2022. The majority of the revenues, around 85 percent, are from taxes. Meanwhile, there were approximately $28 million in expenditures, which was up from $25 million from the previous year. That is due mostly to an increase in public safety and general government.

The ACFR also includes required communications with city management.

“We had no disagreements with management related to any of the accounting principles,” McKellar said. “We had no significant issues that we had to discuss with management. We had no uncorrected misstatements or what we call past adjustments. So, all of the adjustments that were noted were included in the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report.”

According to McKellar, there were a few management recommendations.

“These are just recommendations,” he said. “They don’t rise to the level of a material weakness or a significant deficiency.“

In one case, during the auditor’s testing of Other Postemployment Benefits census data, it was noted that the hire date for one city employee to the actuary did not agree with the hire date per city records.  It was recommended the city perform an annual quality control review of its census data. Also, during the auditor’s testing of hotel/motel expenditures, it was noted the city has not been fully disbursing its collections over the past several years, which has resulted in an accumulated fund balance of approximately $1.8 million.

“Management does have a plan for spending that money,” McKellar said. “It has to be spent on very specific purposes under the hotel/motel tax law, including promotion of tourism, the Forum and the tennis center.”

McKellar also went over some new standards that are coming out, one of which deals with subscription-based information technology arrangements.

“So, if you have software where you have a five-year agreement with them to pay an annual license, in 2023 you will be required to report that as a long-term asset and liability,” he said.

McKellar noted the standard is similar to one in the current AFCR that deals with leases. For 2022, the city had to report a couple of lease agreements. One involves the lease of golf carts at Stonebridge and the other is the lease of a building to the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services.