Hertford County finances are on solid footing

Published 5:33 pm Friday, February 5, 2021

WINTON – Hertford County local government’s financial health is strong according to the results of audit presented here Monday.

Stuart Hill, CPA, representing Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams & Company, presented the FY 2000-21 audit to the Hertford County Board of Commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting.

Hill gave the audit an unmodified opinion, saying it was a “clean audit” and that the “accounting practices are proper and there are no major issues.”

The most noticeable sign of the county’s strong financial health is an increase of nearly $2 million in the General Fund Balance. As of June 30, 2020, that fund contained $12.17 million, an increase from $10.39 million at the end of the 2019-20 budget year. One budget year prior (2018-19), the fund balance was $9.41 million.

The fund balance available as a percentage of General Fund expenditures was a healthy 39.36%. That was an increase of over six percent (33.43%) from FY 2019-20. It was also well above the 33.14 percent that represents the average amount of fund balance available for counties that are similar in population with Hertford.

“You have a healthy fund balance, better than other counties that are similar in size,” Hill noted.

The county’s unassigned fund balance was another area that increased: $4.85 million for 2019-20 as compared to $4.36 million at the close of FY 2019-20.

That same balance has increased by nearly $1 million since FY 2018-19.

And as it was pointed out during Monday’s meeting, all of these increases have come at a time where the commissioners have held the ad valorem tax rate at 84 cents (per $100 of property value).

All three of the county’s major funds showed a surplus of cash with revenues in excess of expenditures for 2019-20:

General Fund: $1,781,931

Water District Fund: $345,920

Sanitation Fund: $63,535

As for the Sanitation Fund, 2019-20 ended a period of three consecutive audits where that department operated in the red. It had expenditures over revenues (losses) in the amounts of $55,886 (FY 2018-19); $42,209 (FY 2017-18); and $61,127 (FY 2016-17).

All totaled, Hertford County had $25,956,770 in general fund revenues for FY 2019-2020. Total expenditures, to include a shade over $1.3 million in debt service payments, were $24,174,839.

“You guys had a good year; this was a good audit,” Hill told the commissioners.

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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