Sunday, July 14, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Audit shows continued growth in county government’s savings

Alamance County’s annual audit is out, and it seems that the county’s leaders managed to keep things on a fairly strong financial footing during the 12-month period covered by this independent financial review.

According to Martin Starnes & Associates, the county’s Hickory-based auditing firm, the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2023 saw the county take in about $204.0 million into its general fund – a repository of various taxes and fees that bankrolls most of the county’s programs and services.

During the same period, the county’s general fund reportedly paid out about $196.7 million. In both cases, these figures represent a roughly 4-percent increase from the previous financial cycle.

Thanks to the surplus in the latest year’s revenues, the county was able to plow nearly $7.5 million back into its “fund balance,” or accumulated reserves. In theory, the general fund’s reserves ended the year at more than $91.4 million, although this figure falls to about $76.0 million after eliminating the county’s non-cash assets and funds that the state requires the county to hold in reserve.

- Advertisement -

This nest egg further declines to about $46.8 million when factoring out cash savings that the county has set aside for particular uses. Yet, this “unassigned” fund balance is still tantamount to 23.75 percent of the general fund’s annual outlays – far more than the state’s mandated minimum of 8 percent or the county’s previously stated goal of 20 percent.

For the sake of comparison, the county’s unassigned fund balance for the fiscal year that ended in June of 2022 amounted to 22.16 percent of its annual outlays.

According to Elsa Swenson, the county’s regular auditor with Martin Starnes & Associates, revenues from property taxes amounted to about 52 percent of the general fund’s total annual haul in the financial cycle that ended in 2023, while sales tax receipts accounted for another 23 percent. On the other side of the ledger, the county put 28 percent of its outlays toward public education and 26 percent toward public safety. Swenson noted that these figures represented increases of 7 and 8 percent from the previous year – the latter, which she attributed largely to pay raises for sheriff’s deputies and other public safety employees.

Elsa Swenson

Although Swenson was generally complimentary of the county’s financial management, she also pointed to a handful of “compliance findings” in the paperwork at the social services department.

Swenson revealed that a review of 60 Medicaid applications turned up missing information in two of the files, while there were three applications without signatures among the 60 requests for home energy subsidies which her firm had reviewed.

Must Read

Walmart officials confirm plans to build second facility at Hawfields industrial...

Walmart corporate officials confirmed Wednesday that the company will expand its existing distribution center at the Hawfields-area industrial park, known as the North Carolina...