Dabb's confident in city's finances

Despite a decrease in sales tax revenue, Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs says she is confident in the city's financial state.

Dabbs made that assessment during a meeting Tuesday of the City Council's Finance and Personnel Committee.

The mayor noted that revenue currently is down by 4 percent, so all of the city departments currently are operating at 6 percent or greater under budget.

"When you hear the naysayers out there complaining about how much money the city has spent, remember this: At least it is on things and projects that are meaningful to our neighbors and friends and families.

"We haven't spent more in recent years than we have in the past," Dabbs noted. "We simply have something to show for it now."

Questions about the city's finances came about at the end of 2013. Because of a software platform change in that year, the council did not received financial statements until April 2014. In January of 2014 the council and city officials had worked to cut the budget to only the bare minimums.

When the council received the 2013 financial information, they learned the city's financial condition was not as bad as originally thought. However, they also learned that the finance department had found a $186,616 accounting error.

This error has been carried forward on the books for at least two years, according to Dabbs. Now, the city departments receive financial statements each week and month to give them the ability to monitor revenue and expenses successfully.

"The city of Bryant is fiscally strong," Dabbs said. "We have eliminated unseen, wasteful spending over the past three and a half years; and as a result, we have the ability to better meet the needs of our public safety department providing them with better vehicles, technology and communication equipment in order to better protect our people."

The city also completed drainage, streets and other major city improvements including Mills Park Pool, she pointed out.

At the current time, all city departments are working on a "bare-bones budget" and do not have any big projects going on, so the amount of money in reserves can be increased, Dabbs said.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, the committee discussed a forensic audit that will be conducted by Dr. L. Douglas Brown. This audit was requested and approved by the council last year but has not been completed yet.

Dabbs said Brown would like some direction from the aldermen regarding what type of information they want him to research.

Alderman Randy Cox told the committee he will talk with other members of the council about their concerns and then convey them to Brown. He plans to update the aldermen at the next council meeting, which is scheduled July 21.