CRESTVIEW — Despite last year’s $1.2 million deficit in governmental services, the Hub City faces a more promising financial outlook, according to a report on its annual audit.


CRESTVIEW — Despite last year’s $1.2 million deficit in governmental services, the Hub City faces a more promising financial outlook, according to a report on its annual audit.



The City Council has unanimously approved accepting Carr, Riggs and Ingram’s auditing report.



"We are issuing a clean opinion, and that differs from what we did last year," Alan Jowers, a partner in the firm, said on Monday. A "clean opinion" means there were no serious problems found in the city's revamped accounting systems and procedures.



The city had partially covered a deficit by transferring $500,000 from the utilities fund, which resulted in a $675,000 net loss.



"What that's telling you is that for your fiscal year 2012 ... you spent more than you brought in," Jowers said. "I think that's important to look at."



During the year, the city addressed several issues raised in the 2011-12 audit, including accounting and billing problems that once plagued the Utilities Billing Department, Jowers said.



Auditors analyzed two segments of city government: governmental services — such as police and city administration — and "business activities" including water services and other items that generate fee-based revenue.



"The good news is there was no systemic issue like there's been in previous years," Jowers said.



One recommendation the firm made would eliminate the potential to misuse a test check generated during a run of city-issued checks.



Though a test check — which assures the printing system functions correctly — is locked in a safe so it can be accounted for, it should be defaced to ensure it could not be fraudulently completed and cashed, the report recommended.



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or brianh@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.