The city of Philadelphia ended fiscal 2015 with a $200,127 surplus in the general fund, an annual audit showed, the second in the past eight years since the Mayor and Board of Aldermen doubled the millage rate in 2014.

Aldermen reduced millage from 20 to 18 to fund the fiscal 2015 and 2016 budgets.

The general fund, which provides monies for such departments as general government, public safety, municipal court, streets, sanitation and cemetery, saw a $368,521 surplus in fiscal 2014.

The city's general fund for fiscal 2015 showed $8,744,668  in revenue and $7,953,464 in expenditures before $591,077 in transfers out for other financing uses.

Tristan Rowell, of Rea, Shaw, Giffin & Stuart, LLP, Certified Public Accountants, told the Mayor and Board of Aldermen that the city of Philadelphia “is very strong” financially.

“Compared to other governments that we do, Philadelphia seems strong,” Rowell said. “There is not a lot of outstanding debt and that is good. There is no robbing Peter to pay Paul. I’m surprised at your strong sales tax. That’s a plus.”

Mayor James A. Young credited good management and the city’s department heads staying within their budgets for the surplus.

“It was a combination of good management and the department heads doing like we are supposed to do,” Young said. “That makes us stronger, financially, than we have been in a long time.”

Young said the surplus is  “cushion” because “we never know what is going to happen during the year, like one storm. We are pleased with it. We are managing it according to the law and according to what the people want. It’s good management of their tax dollars.”

Overall, the city's total assets increased by $747,929 or 3 percent from fiscal 2014. Total liabilities increased by $6,430,034 or 161 percent.

This is due to the addition of net pension liability in the amount of $7,729,014, Rowell told aldermen.

The total net position decreased approximately $5,320,763, or 23 percent, as a result of this year's operations.

This is due to a prior period adjustment of $5,570,845 made in relation to the net pension liability, Rowell said.

Governmental revenues exceeded expenses by $89,939 before transfers, while the city's business-type revenues exceeded related expenses by $200,667 before transfers, the report said.

City government is primarily funded by sources other than property taxes, which made up only 17 percent of the total revenues in fiscal 2015.

The general fund saw $1,342,500 in ad valorem taxes. Sales tax totaled $4,630,177 in the general fund. The fund received $120,787 in franchise tax on utilities and $142,438 from TVA in lieu of taxes, among others.

The highest expenditures in the general fund were for public safety, with $1,669,408 in the police department and $1,502,740 in the fire department.

The fiscal 2015 audit noted one finding in regard to cash management of a U. S. Department of Transportation Highway Planning and Construction Grant.

The audit showed that more than three months elapsed between the receipt and disbursement of some Highway Planning and Construction grant funds.

Rowell told aldermen the “invoice got lost in the cracks and just fell through. It must be paid within three days under the grant.”

The board’s response to the finding was that “internal controls will be implemented to insure grant receipts are dispersed within three days of receiving grant money.”

The annual audit also highlighted the city’s long-term debt.

On Jan. 25, 2014, the city borrowed $159,834 from BancorpSouth Bank under a lease/purchase contract to purchase a CAT D6K dozer. Payments are $2,160.87 a month for 36 months and a balloon payment of $89,000 at an interest rate of 1.81 percent.

The city borrowed $323,348 on Jan. 13, 2012, from Mississippi Development Authority under the CAP Loan Revolving Program to purchase a rescue truck. Payments are $2,975.24 a month for 120 months at an interest rate of 2 percent.

On Feb. 7, 2011, the city borrowed $714,928 from MDA under the CAP Loan Revolving Program to finance a storage facility in the Industrial Park. Payments are $3,964.97 a month for 240 months beginning Nov. 1, 2011. The interest rate is 3 percent.

On Feb. 24, 2009, the city borrowed $650,857 from MDA under the CAP Loan Revolving Program to purchase an aerial fire truck. Payments are $5,988.76 a month for 120 months at an interest rate of 2 percent.

On Oct. 1, 2005, the city issued $4 million of revenue bonds payable from 2007 to 2020. Interest rates range from 3.3 percent to 4.5 percent.

A portion of the $2 million of the proceeds was used to expand and improve existing municipal parks. A portion of the remaining half of the proceeds was used to help fund the commercial development of the Lowe’s Home Improvement store. The bonds are to be repaid from incremental sales and ad valorem taxes collected with the tax increment financing district.

The city’s total debt decreased by $431,705 during fiscal 2015.