Our View

The City of Alexander City is making a tremendous effort to make sure its finances are not only accountable to the penny but transparent and another big step is being taken by providing monthly status reports to the city council.

Councilmembers have been asking for the reports and rightfully so. They need them so they can make informed decisions and be wise stewards of our taxpayer dollars.

But it’s taken more than two years to reorganize the city’s finances to the point where the reports can be issued. The administrations of the late mayor Jim Nabors and current mayor Tommy Spraggins, along with city finance director Sandy Stanbrough, deserve commendations for their efforts to provide reliable and timely information.

The city is a big business with a budget in excess of $50 million and it needs to be run competently as a big business. The city has come a long way in catching up its audits and automating many components of financial reporting to get more accurate details. In fact, the fiscal year 2019 budget was the first one passed on time in six years.

Taxpayers also need to know how their city is run and that’s why The Outlook will publish these monthly financial reports once they begin in July. The reports will be precise, relying on hard numbers instead of averages.

“I use the analogy that you think of a big box and all the canceled checks and receipts are thrown in there,” Stanbrough said of what she found when she was hired in 2017. “They had to be sorted out. It’s like we were handed a plate of spaghetti at the beginning.”

That spaghetti is much more palatable now.