To the citizens of Gadsden:
This is in response to a commentary written by John F. Floyd that appeared in The Gadsden Times on 9/23/2021, “Seek answers when your money is being spent.”
As the heading implies, Mr. Floyd’s comments basically question the financial accountability of the City of Gadsden. However, he addresses two specific questions, and I would assume from the two answers he has posted, the questions are: 1) How is the Gadsden-Etowah County Industrial Development Authority funded, and to whom are they responsible? and 2) Who received the $1 million allocation to “Industrial Development” in the FY2021 budget?
The answer to the first question is that the Gadsden-Etowah County Industrial Development Authority is funded as an outside agency by the City of Gadsden, and as such has a contract with the City of Gadsden. The monthly financial statements of all outside agencies funded by the City of Gadsden are submitted to the City of Gadsden Finance Department for review before funding is disbursed. These financial statements are reviewed as to how the funding was used to ensure that expenses match appropriations.
To determine the annual budgeted amount, the IDA submits a request for funding, the Finance Department reviews the monthly financial statements from the previous year, determines if the requested funding is valid, makes any necessary changes, and recommends the agreed upon funding amount to the Mayor and City Council for their approval.
The IDA is a separate legal entity that reports to a board of volunteers comprised of 18 members, who are citizens of Etowah County.
The answer to the second question is that the $1 million was budgeted for “Industrial Development,” not to be confused with the IDA or the IDB. This funding was budgeted for an industrial access road to facilitate the needs of potential industrial prospects. This specific $1 million was not spent at all in FY2021, and at year end was moved into the “Unassigned Fund Balance of the 340 Fund.” This balance was reallocated to the Gadsden State Sports Complex in the FY2022 budget.
This commentary, even though it may have been written with good intentions, tends to undermine the financial accountability of the City of Gadsden.
The commentary mentions audits of both the City of Gadsden financial books, as well as the Gadsden Airport Authority. It should be noted both the City of Gadsden and the Gadsden Airport Authority have annual Independent Auditors’ Reports Performed in Accordance with Government Auditing Standards. These audits are available for review on the City of Gadsden website, and are listed at the end of the Financial Reports for each year. As citizens, you should know the City of Gadsden will always be fully transparent.
Please remember, we are more than happy to answer any questions our citizens may have regarding the finances of the City of Gadsden.
Lisa Rosser is finance/revenue director for the City of Gadsden.
This article originally appeared on The Gadsden Times: City finance director responds to commentary