Mason managers and comptroller team have ‘positive meeting’ on financials

Vice Mayor Virginia Rivers and Mayor Emmit Gooden pose for a photo with Comptroller Jason Mumpower.

Mason, now under the financial control of the state comptroller, could operate independently again sooner than expected.

On Tuesday, the Mumpower team and city officials met in Jackson to discuss the plan to get back to financial health.

“It was a very positive meeting,” Mumpower said. “We were able to come together on a plan for the future that everyone agreed on.”

At a meeting of the mayor’s council and aldermen on Monday, it was announced that the city had been paying $10,000 for the utilities fund deficit for years. Mumpower said it wasn’t obvious to his team because they didn’t have the financial records and audits showing it.

On Tuesday, the Comptroller’s Office met with (back row, left to right) Mason City Attorney Terry Clayton, Mayor Emmit Gooden, financial consultants Cortez and Ronda Hughey of Hughey’s Debits & Credits and Vice- Mayor Virginia Rivers.

“That’s the importance of audits when it comes to taxpayers’ money,” he said.

Auditors will visit Mason this week to check on their finances and there may be a restructuring of the financial supervision agreement. Last week, Mumpower said the city is expected to make payments of more than $22,000 per month for the next 27 months.

The town of Mason intends to use $227,000 of U.S. stimulus funds to make a lump sum payment toward the deficit, then continue its $10,000 monthly payment for the requested duration to avoid encumbering the budget.

If they are able to do so and able to adopt a balanced budget, Mumpower said they could be removed from supervision “as soon as possible”.