Northampton audit shows financial gains

Published 3:58 pm Friday, March 19, 2021

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JACKSON – The Northampton Commissioners once again received a good report for their most recent audit.

Alan Thompson, a representative from the audit company who completed the work, shared the details of the FY20 audit at the commissioners’ regular meeting here on March 15.

“You should be proud of the progress you’ve made over time,” Thompson stated.

This audit covers the period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

According to the audit report, general fund revenues for FY20 totaled $33,025,330 with the majority of these funds coming from ad valorem taxes. That number is down about $1.5 million from the previous year’s audit.

Total general fund expenditures for FY20, however, were also down from the year before, totaling $30,375,791. That’s a $1.1 million drop from FY19. Human services and public safety continued to be the largest expenditures for the county.

Revenues over expenditures totaled a little over $2.6 million, which is down from the $3.2 million during the previous fiscal year.

The total general fund balance is $19,334,719. Thompson noted that was a great improvement from the $11.9 million it was five years ago.

The county’s tax collection percentage continued holding steady in FY20 at 95.74 percent. It’s been 95 percent for at least the last five fiscal years. That collection percentage is still slightly lower than the group weighted average at 97 percent.

“Those percentages and fund balance totals are significantly improved from five years ago, so I congratulate all of you and management as well,” Thompson continued.

He mentioned that there were still some things the county could work on to improve, but overall, they’re in a good financial position.

“Hard work pays off,” said Board Chair Charles Tyner after the presentation.

In previous years, the county had fallen behind in getting their audits done in a timely manner due to a number of issues including staff turnover and problems with bank reconciliations. In 2019, the commissioners finally received the delayed audit reports for FY17 and FY18. By July 2020, they received the FY19 audit as well.

Despite the good results, County Manager Charles Jackson noted there are ways to see the numbers continue to trend upwards.

“There is room for growth in economic development,” he explained. “In the long term, that is our best option to make sure we maintain this progress. We’ve got to grow our tax base.”

After the discussion, Commissioner Geneva Faulkner motioned to accept the audit report, and Commissioner Kelvin Edwards seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.

Later in the meeting, the commissioners also approved a contract with Thompson’s company to perform the upcoming FY21 audit as well.