Petersburg announces improved finances and clean audit

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PETERSBURG, Va. -- Financially Petersburg is in better shape than most anyone would have thought just 12 months ago. City leaders said tough budget decisions have paid off.

"We are pleased to announce that we have received a clean audit," Mayor Sam Parham said Wednesday morning. "We have just about completely eliminated our current deficit down from $7.7 million dollars to just over $143,000."

Mayor Sam Parham

This is the first time since 2008 the city has ended the fiscal year with its revenues outweighing its expenditures.

The financial report found that the General Fund Revenues were $73,069,843 and General Fund Expenditures were $65,861,125.

While the General Fund is doing much better, so is the Public Utility Fund which last fiscal year was a negative $1.4 million.

In the audit for fiscal year 2016-17, the Public Utility Fund had a positive net position of $1.3 million, which is a $2.7 million dollar turn around.

Since cracking down on delinquent water and tax payers, citizens have responded by paying on time and collections are up, city officials reported.

Petersburg City Hall

“Although this is just the beginning, this is an amazing start to a strong financial future for the City of Petersburg,” City Manager Aretha R. Ferrell-Benavides said.

The city is also working to shore up a non-existent unrestricted fund balance with their goal being "between $1 and $2 million a year in building up our revenues," said Ferrell-Benavides.

She added that the city is working to sell off nearly 300 properties, to get them out of the real estate business and the parcels back on the tax books.

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