FOLEY – An annual financial audit found that the city of Foley once again did very well in managing municipal funds and reporting fiscal operations.

Foley received an unmodified opinion in the audit report by the firm of Warren Averett. The listing is the highest level of assurance that can be provided by the company. The audit did not have any findings of significant adjustments or any issues of non compliance, company officials said.

Mayor Ralph Hellmich said Foley staff members and Warren Averett employees worked for hundreds of hours in preparing the audit.

“It’s a lot of work,” Hellmich said. “People don’t realize that. We’re very progressive. The City Council and everyone here do a lot of things with a lot of different funds and utilize a lot of techniques in order to provide services. And it’s complicated. So thank all of y’all. We appreciate that.”

He praised city employees, including Cian Harrison, executive director of general government administration; Miranda Bell, director of financial services; and Sue Steigerwald, who retired recently as financial services director.

“The accountability here in Foley is held to a very high standard,” Hellmich said. “Cian has a lot of experience in all of this and her department and Miranda, our chief financial officer, just do outstanding work in carrying on the tradition that Sue started.”

In the last year, the city received taxes and other revenue of more than $83.45 million and had expenses of almost $56.6 million, according to reports. The General Fund operating revenues exceeded operating expenditures by more than $22,81 million and the city’s governmental funds reported a combined ending fund balance of $94.5 million, an increase in fund balance of almost $33,72 million from the year before.

The General Fund closed with a fund balance of $69.62 million, an increase of almost $15.08 million for the year.

Bell said the city has received many awards for its financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. The city received the distinguished public award presentation for ‘24 budget. Foley has received that award at least five times.

The GFOA has also recognized Foley with the popular annual financial reporting award four times and an award for its annual comprehensive financial report 10 times.

Foley has received all three awards in the same year – an accomplishment known as the “triple crown” in financial reporting – four times 

Bell said the city will be considered for additional awards and another triple crown in 2024.