Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

July 30, 2013

Audit questions sewer bonds

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — The state auditor’s office release of Cincinnati’s fiscal year records ending June 30, 2012 shows the city may have a hard time repaying sewer revenue bonds issued in 1998.

Cincinnati does have $164,177 due in principal and interest for sewer revenue bonds issued in 1988 for construction improvements to the sewer treatment plant. The bonds are payable through 2029 and carry a 5 percent interest rate.

The audit states net sewer customer receipts, less operating expenses, being used to repay the bonds, may not be enough to satisfy bond repayment. The city is required to collect net revenues not less than 125 percent of principal and interest due.

The audit states principal and interest payments on the bonds are expected to require more than 100 percent of net receipts. In 2012, Cincinnati collected $9,800 which does not meet the 125 percent threshold

The city is obligated to pay $9,356 in principal and interest beginning in fiscal year 2013 continuing through fiscal year 2017. The city will owe $46,780 each for FY 2018-2022 and FY 2023-2027 and for FY 2028-2029 they will owe $23,837.

In 2011 Cincinnati agreed to accept $193,000 sewer revenue capital loan notes with a 3 percent interest rate with the Iowa Finance Authority. Some of the money was used to cover the cost of construction improvements, extensions and a new pump station for the sewer utility system.

The audit states Cincinnati had 200 sewer customers as of June 30, 2012. The sewer rate for the first 1,000 gallons or less per month was $13.50; anything over 1,000 gallons per month per 1,000 was $5.10.

Other findings contained in the audit:

For the year ending June 30, 2012 receipts totaled $396,710 and includes $35,842 in property and other city taxes, $132,053 from charges for services, $51,304 from operating grants, contributions and restricted interest, $47,334 from capital grants, contributions and restricted interest, $26,163 from local option sales tax, $3,267 from unrestricted interest on investments, $95,713 from note and loan proceeds and $5,034 from other general receipts.

Disbursements for the year ending June 30, 2012 totaled $391,064 and included $47,299 for general government, $27,635 for culture and recreation, $19,830 for public safety and $259,059 for business type activities.

Cincinnati’s general fund for the year ending June 30, 2012 had a deficit of $10,278.

The audit faulted the city for not publishing, as required by state law, the annual gross salaries of all city employees.

City employees accumulated $2,075 in earned but unused vacation hours for subsequent use or for payment upon termination, retirement or death.

The audit found the city has not complied with sewer revenue bond provisions by not annually auditing the books and accounts.

The city’s response to the audit was smaller populations are not required to have books and accounts audited yearly.

The audit faulted city personnel for not reconciling utility billings, collections and delinquent accounts. The city’s shut-off policy and procedures were not enforced, paid utility stubs or receipts did not always indicate the date or amount paid and delinquent accounts were either not reconciled or improperly written off.

To read the complete audit released July 24 go to the Cincinnati clerk’s office or the auditor of state website.