Southaven audit shows reserve surplus

By The Associated Press

SOUTHAVEN — Southaven officials are hoping to get a boost in the city’s credit rating, since it has rebuilt its 2010 fund balance to seven times the amount that was left after 2009.

The annual audit for fiscal 2010 shows a fund balance of $3.9 million — up from $528,422 after 2009, when the city had to pay for damage from tornadoes in 2008, The Commercial Appeal reported Sunday.

Officials said they’ll now ask Standard and Poor’s, the bond rating agency, to increase the city’s bond/credit rating from an AA-minus to AA or AA-plus. That would mean lower interest rates on any new general obligation bonds issued.

City administrator and CFO Chris Wilson says half the surplus will go into the city’s rainy day fund.

“We are not going to go out and just start spending this reserve funding,” Wilson said. “We are going to continue on the path of conservative spending in preparation for any tough financial times.”

He said the remaining 50 percent will be split evenly between early retirement debt and next year’s budget, which includes a proposal to hire a CPA.

This report was prepared by the accounting firm F.O. Givens & Co., which has offices in Southaven and Senatobia.

The audit showed Southaven has a total of $197.5 million in assets and $127 million in liabilities. The 2010 audit also showed the city’s total net assets were $70.5 million, a $6.7 million increase from fiscal year 2009. The city invested $16.7 million in public safety, which includes fire, police and EMS.

The Southaven Parks Department generated $2.3 million in revenues from concessions, ticket sales and tournament fees.