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Recent audit good news for Lanett

The City of Lanett received some good news on Monday. An auditor was at the city council meeting to commend city officials on having been fiscally responsible and having one of the city’s best audits in years. Phillip Morgan of Phillip Morgan & Company P.C., Certified Public Accountants, Birmingham described the annual report as “a good, clean one with no significant difficulties.”

Morgan commended Deborah Gilbert and Kelly Walton of the city hall staff on having done very good work in keeping the city’s books. “They’re doing a really good job of keeping them in order and following internal control rules,” he said.

The audit covers fiscal year 2016-17, which ended on Sept. 30, 2017. Federal grant money received by the city for the ongoing airport and downtown streetscape projects figured prominently in this. It helped boost total revenue from the $15 million range last year to $16.5 million in the current reporting period. “There has been a very good year-to-year improvement from $200,000 last year to $1.7 million this year,” Morgan said.

This work shows that people are doing good work at city hall. Lanett residents should be pleased with this.

Of course, that money won’t be just sitting there. It will be paying for the improvements that are now under way at the airport and with the streetscape.

The airport will be an asset for the Greater Valley Area. It will help recruit new industry to the area. Building a 4,400-foot runway to replace one that’s 3,300 feet long will provide a place capable of landing private jets. There’s room to add an an additional 1,000 feet, which would give the local area an airport with a mile-long runway.

I’m of the belief that the streetscape will look fantastic when it’s finished. The new paving, sidewalks, and lamp posts look really good. A new, larger fountain in the triangle and a main city street without utility poles and lines alongside it will be really special. I can’t wait to see it.

It’s also good to know the streetscape will be continuing north along Lanier Avenue toward the Georgia state line. Funding has been approved to do this along one side of the street, and a grant request is pending to do the opposite side.

According to the audit, the city’s total net position increased by more than $1.7 million in FY 2017. “This increase in the city’s net position resulted in a swing from a deficit net position in the prior year to a surplus at the current year end,” it reads.

That’s not bad, but it’s a turnaround that needs to stand the test of time. It’s our hope that this is not a one-year flash in the pan, but that the city will be on solid financial footing for years to come.