HC audit reveals good news

Published 9:07 am Monday, February 18, 2019

WINTON – Despite its total fund balance slipping below $10 million for the first time since 2014, Hertford County local government’s financial health remains strong.

That’s according to Brandy Turbeville, a CPA with Thompson, Price, Scott and Adams, a Whiteville, NC firm under contract to audit the county’s financial statements. She presented her findings – the audit for year ending June 30, 2018 – recently at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners.

“We noted no transactions entered into by Hertford County during the year that were significant or unusual,” Tuberville reported. “We gave you an unmodified opinion, which means you have a clean report.”

Giving the board members a five-year comparison, Tuberville informed the commissioners that the total fund balance has declined $981,000 from 2014 to 2018 ($10.39 million to $9.41 million). Meanwhile, General Fund expenditures have risen: $23.21 million in 2014 to $26.55 million in 2018.

Despite the falling fund balance and rising expenditures, Tuberville said Hertford County’s fund balance available as a percentage of general fund expenditures remains well above the state’s requirement (8 percent).

“Yours is 26.42 percent,” she noted.

Tuberville also noted that the county’s water and sanitation districts showed gains financially.

The county’s debt, which stood at $19.75 million in 2014, has deceased slightly to $19.26 million by the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

As has been the case since 2014, ad valorem taxes remain as the leading source of the county’s revenue. That amount was $13.64 million last year. Other state and local option sales taxes amounted to just over $5.3 million.

On the expenditure side, public safety ($7.38 million), education ($6.78 million), and human services ($6.05 million) consumed the lion’s share of taxpayer funding. Annual debt service payments slightly deceased to $1.45 million compared to $1.47 million from the 2016-17 audit.

County Manager Loria Williams addressed the decrease in the fund balance, saying it did take a slight hit in 2017-18.

“But that trend is reserved so far this year where we have used only $136,000,” she noted. “At the end of the day, the salary freeze and spending freeze we put in place during the latter part of the last fiscal year helps. It was a good year for us; we worked hard to get our revenues and expenditures in line.”

Tuberville stated that Hertford County was fortunate to have dodged the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Florence last year.

“A lot of the counties down where I’m from are not having good years due to that hurricane,” she stressed. “There was a tremendous amount of damage.”


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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