City Hall’s top financial official said the city remains on track to begin borrowing on the public markets by June, despite rumblings at last Friday’s retirement board meeting that the board could dump its auditors – who are working on financial statements necesary to move the city closer to Wall Street.

Chief Financial Officer Jay Goldstone said representatives at Brown Armstrong, the firm conducting the pension system’s 2004 audits, assured him that its work will be completed in time to keep the city on pace. Trustees hinted at or outright announced their displeasure with the firm last Friday, noting that they would explore the possibility of firing them because of constant delays.

In an interview today, Goldstone said Brown Armstrong is waiting for KPMG to forward one number from the city’s 2003 audits – which the mayor expects complete by Oct. 27. Once the firm has that information, it will certify the 2004 statements, which will in turn allow Macias Gini & O’Connell to roll the pension system’s audit into the city’s 2004 financial statements by Nov. 22, Goldstone said.

Calls placed to Brown Armstrong partner Andrew Paulden were not returned.

If all goes as planned, the credit rating firms would restore the city’s rating by late February so that the municipal government could begin borrowing for pertinent water and sewer construction projects, Mayor Jerry Sanders announced last week.

Brown Armstrong is expected, however, to be replaced by another firm for the pension system’s 2005 audit, pension and city officials said. Officials say the selection of the firm is not expected to disrupt Sanders’ timeline for returning to Wall Street.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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