Positives for Petersburg
7/28/2017, 7:22 a.m.
Mayor Sam Parham
Last summer, the severity of Petersburg’s financial challenges became apparent and Petersburg City Council took immediate action. Significant progress has been made during the last year.
We worked with the then interim city manager to contact the state for assistance and engaged Public Financial Management, which worked with the city’s financial adviser, Davenport & Co., to develop budget-reducing initiatives. We approved an amendment to the FY 2017 budget that reflected the recommended changes.
However, even after all of this occurred, City Council realized that the need for assistance was much greater and we engaged The Robert Bobb Group.
Since that time, City Council has taken action to ensure that we get back to financial and economic stability. Most notable we:
1) Approved, by resolution, financial and budgetary policies that we must adhere to.
2) Required that the city manager provide monthly financial reports to the City Council.
3) Created a full work session dedicated to understanding the Comprehensive Financial Report and the auditor’s concerns.
4) Required the hiring of a forensic auditor to ensure that government business is being conducted appropriately and without misconduct.
5) Approved changes to the city’s process for selling surplus property so that developers know that we are open for business and we can ensure that we get properties developed and back on the tax rolls.
6) Hired new City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides through a competitive search process. We are confident she will provide continued progress for the residents and business owners of our community.
With the support of the citizens of Petersburg and a dedicated City Council, we will continue to move our city forward.
The writer is mayor of the City of Petersburg.