Fayetteville Council talks dollars and downtown

by Ron Emile

The City of Fayetteville regular City Council meeting brought positive news for the city’s financial outlook.
The first item on the agenda was the review of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year 2016. The city of  Fayetteville is in outstanding fiscal shape.
“Your financial report does looks good. It’s very strong, and that speaks highly of the city,” said Miller Edwards of Mauldin & Jenkins, CPA, LLC. Taxes, which include property, sales, and others, make up the bulk of the city’s revenue. The remainder of the city’s revenue in the order of largest proportion is made up of fines and forfeitures, licenses and permits, intergovernmental fees, and charges for services.
The bulk of the Fayetteville’s expenses go to public safety. The city spent $7,433,861 dollars on public safety, $1,396,104 on general government, $921,742 on public works, $654,217 on judicial expenses, and $655,548 on housing and development.
According to Edwards, Fayetteville has “about $124 million in assets” and only “about three million dollars in liabilities.”
“You’ve  had your ups and downs,” said Edwards. “You’ve had a recession you were going through for the last decade. You looking pretty good right now. This might be the best I’ve seen y’all look.”
The city also has positive operating cash flow, which means they take in more than they spend, on water and sewer, and waste management, which Edwards said was one of the services that usually does not “pay for its self” in most cities.
With a current operating income of $922,000, up dramatically from the 2012 operating income of $167,000, the City of Fayetteville is on financially firm ground.
City Clerk Anne Barksdale presented two items in the Public Hearings portion of the meeting. The first item dealt with continuing an agreement to have Fayette County conduct the City of Fayetteville elections in 2017, which the board approved. The second item concerned the procedure of reissuing yearly Alcohol licenses being changed to allow staff-level approvals rather than it being the “drawn out process” it currently is, which the board also approved.
City Manager Ray Gibson presented a contract for approval for the Downtown Master Plan. Gibson asked the council for $50,000 to “consult with four or five planning firms” so he and his staff can eventually present to the city which plans they deem best. Mayor Ed Johnson asked that the city is notified before any additional work is to be done beyond the scope of what is being currently approved, which Gibson promptly agreed to.
The last items discussed were the surplus of equipment to be auctioned off online in mid-March. The items to be auctioned include police vehicles and office equipment. Though not currently active, the online auction can be found at www.govdeals.com.

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