Moving on up

Published 11:39 am Monday, March 14, 2016

JACKSON – Northampton County’s auditor presented the Board of Commissioners an excellent audit report at Monday’s meeting.

Kari Dunlap of Marin Starnes & Associates presented a preliminary assessment for the 2015 fiscal year because it has yet to be evaluated by the Local Government Commission (LGC).

Dunlap said Martin Starnes has awarded Northampton County and “unmodified opinion,” the highest opinion an auditing agency can give.

Dunlap said the county’s General Fund had a fund balance increase of $2.2 million; Water and Sewer fund had a net position increase of $1.3 million; and the Solid Waste fund had a net position decrease of $50,977.

She said the county’s Available Fund Balance increased from $6.3 million in 2014 to $9.3 million in 2015, a 14.3 percent increase, bringing the county available fund balance to 32 percent of its current operating budget.

Board Chairwoman Fannie Greene commented, “This is very good news. It’s refreshing to see.”

The LGC wants boards of county commissioners to maintain a minimum available fund balance of 8 percent, but recommends 20 percent.

The county has been striving to have a 25 percent fund balance in order to weather unexpected fiscal crises.

County Manager Kimberly Turner this 32 percent fund balance exceeds expectations and assures that Northampton continues to operate in a fiscally responsible manner.

She credits the former and current finance officers for their diligence, as well at the county’s department heads for keeping expenditures down while still meeting the needs of the county and the public.

Turner said she would remain vigilant to make sure taxpayers’ money is used as efficiently as possible.

Commissioner Robert Carter congratulated the county manager and all departments for their diligence on behalf of Northampton County’s taxpayers.

“We’re movin’ on up,” Carter half sang. “I’ve not seen in my 18 years on the board a fund balance this high.”

Carter said the board has received many letters over the years from LGC warning the county that its fund balance was below 8 percent.

For him and the rest of the board, he said, this is very good news.