City audit late but headed in right direction

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 2, 2018

Perhaps the fifth time will be the financial charm for the City of Natchez. We certainly hope so.

The City of Natchez put its official stamp of approval on the city’s 2016 financial audit this week, approximately six months late.

The good news is the city received an unmodified opinion — a conclusion auditors have not been able to reach in a number of years.

Email newsletter signup

The leaders in City Hall deserve to be lauded for their continued efforts to get its financial books in order to reverse past mistakes.

The city’s independent auditors told aldermen this week that much improvement had been done by the city clerk’s office, but that much remained to do.

Late audits and financial problems have been an almost constant trend with the city over the past five years or so.

Each year, the city leaders vow that this year will be the last one in which the books are messed up.

But so far each year brings additional problems — bank accounts that never get reconciled and complaints about problems made by past employees.

The latter is a valid concern as the city clerk’s office has been a revolving door of sorts since the city changed the position to be appointed rather than elected.

This year, they promise that next year will be different.

We hope and pray for Natchez that it is.

Obtaining a relatively clean audit is the first step toward restoring taxpayers’ lost confidence in the city and its leadership’s financial sense. But much work is left to do.

Natchez taxpayers and residents deserve an improved level of confidence that the city’s stewards are more carefully managing the public’s resources.