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Bertie fund balance rises

WINDSOR – It was a good year.

That was the determination of an auditing firm under contract by Bertie County to perform a financial examination of the county’s books.

Considering the current projects ongoing by the county n a new Department of Social Services building, new recreational complex and a $6 million loan to help construct a new middle school n Bertie County was still able to increase its general fund balance by over one-quarter million dollars.

“You’re in good shape financially,” Jeff Best, an auditor with Pittard, Perry & Crone, told the Bertie County Commissioners during their meeting here Jan. 5.

Best continued, “Your fund balance is strong and your water districts are all operating in good financial shape. Everything is running well.”

The news was pleasing to the Commissioners.

“This audit shows we have effective protocols in place and we follow them when it comes to committing taxpayers’ dollars to various programs,” Rick Harrell, Board Chairman, said.

A few of the highlights pointed out by Best included a 94.92 tax collection rate (up from 94.2 percent as reported in the last audit) and a $287,067 increase in the general fund balance. The fund balance continues to climb, up $2 million over the last five years.

Another item that caught Best’s eye was the fact that the county collected $247,000 more than budgeted and spent $549,000 less.

“I would like to publicly thank (Bertie County Finance Officer) Lydia Hoggard and her staff for their exceptional work on our financial success,” Zee Lamb, Bertie County Manager, said. “With only three people working in the finance office, it continues to amaze me what they are able to do.”

Lamb also thanked Pittard, Perry & Crone, pointing out their willingness to prepare a draft of the audit in time for the county to apply for and receive the green light to proceed with the new middle school project.