Two days into 2018, the City of Hattiesburg is still dealing with issues stemming from the financial audit from 2015.
Council members voted to void contracts with Carr, Riggs and Ingram for audit services for fiscal year 2016. This comes after the audit for 2015 was presented to city leaders just last month. The fiscal year for 2015 ended on September 30, 2015.
At the time, a draft of the audit was presented to council members, as well as a bill for $110,000 of overages the accounting firm says it was owed for overages to complete the audit. The original contract was $103,500, which the city had already paid.
In voiding the contract, council members also voted to authorize Council President Carter Carroll to execute contracts with Topp McWhorter Harvey PLLS for audit services for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016. According to the agenda, the contract is for preparation and audit of the City of Hattiesburg's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and for the Combined water and Sewer System.
"It's just taken too long to get the 2015 audit," Carroll said. "We need to get the 2016 and 2017 audits in, and we felt like Paige Johnson and Joe Townsend from Topp McWhorter Harvey could do a much faster job and a better job, so we decided to go with them."
The audits need to be completed for the city to be back in compliance with a number of agencies.
"The consequences of us being this late with our audit from 2015 are plentiful," Mayor Toby Barker said in December. "From the Federal Transit Authority, CDBG, with our bond rating that was suspended earlier. So it's important that we get this out to those rated agencies and those governmental agencies for compliance, immediately."
According to a letter from Topp McWhorter Harvey, PLLC, to Hattiesburg City Council, the audit for 2016 will cost an estimated $225,000. The firm will begin the audit immediately with plans to issue a report by April.