CRESTVIEW — The city’s auditors are cautioning officials about deficit spending that has been propped up by utilities revenues.


CRESTVIEW — The city’s auditors are cautioning officials about deficit spending that has been propped up by utilities revenues.



Alan Jowers of Carr, Riggs and Ingram says the city’s unassigned fund balance has steadily declined.



"We're seeing annual deficits for the last four years," he said during the city council's Monday meeting. "What that means is the city is spending more than it's bringing in.



"Continued deficit spending and continued transfers from utility funds can lead to problems."



The city is nowhere near the financial straits that have led state and federal officials to threaten to take over other cities’ finances, Jowers said.



Jowers' report should be a wake-up call against fiscal irresponsibility, Councilwoman Robyn Helt said.



“What I heard you say in no uncertain terms is you have detected a trend that is not sustainable for our city to continue to operate along, and that is overspending,” Helt said.



After reaching a peak of more than $1.3 million in deficit spending in 2012, Council President Shannon Hayes said 2013’s $800,000 deficit showed “the trend did go down quite a bit.”



“At this point it's not dire,” Jowers said. “There's still time to kind of make some changes. You're not at death's door.”



Email News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes, follow him on Twitter or call 850-682-6524.