Hertford County audit shows net gain

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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WINTON – Hertford County local government’s finances are in good shape, according to an audit conducted by Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams & Company, a CPA firm based in Whiteville.

Alan W. Thompson presented the preliminary findings of the FY 2020-21 audit to the Hertford County Board of Commissioners at their regularly scheduled meeting here Dec. 6.

Those findings are now in the hands of the North Carolina Local Government Commission who will pass final judgment on the audit.

Thompson told the commissioners that he had an unmodified “clean” opinion of the county’s finances.

“There were some technical findings at DSS and we recommend that you review the way you post your water collections,” Thompson said. “Some monthly postings are made to the liability accounts as deferred revenues that should be posted as water collections.”

The commissioners received good news about the county’s General Fund Balance, which increased to $13.21 million in 2020-21 from $12.18 million the previous fiscal year (2019-20).

“Your fund balance is up over one million dollars, that’s very good news,” Thompson stressed.

He added that the fund balance has increased for four consecutive years ($10.39 million in FY 2018-19 and $9.41 million in 2017-18).

The audit also showed an increase in the county’s restricted fund balance, now at $2.95 million compared to $2.66 million the previous year.

Thompson said the county’s fund balance available as a percentage of General Fund expenditures is 38.65%. That represents a slight decrease from last year (39.36%).

The county’s debt fell to $20.44 million ($22.09 million in FY 2019-20).

The audit showed a net financial gain of $801,965 in revenue vs. expenditures for 2020-21. Of the $27.57 million in revenue, $20.3 million came to the county’s coffers via ad valorem taxes and local option sales taxes.

“Our ad valorem tax collections are higher this year than they’ve been in the past five years,” noted Commission Chairman Ronald Gatling. “I congratulate our Tax Department for their efforts.”

“We can clearly say that our net position is great news for our citizens,” said Commissioner Andre Lassiter.

Thompson said the influx of COVID recovery money to all counties is beneficial.

“I encourage you to maintain proper managerial oversight of those funds and keep pushing that money forward in your budget years to come,” he said. “If you manage that money right you might can use that for some expenditures you would normally use the General Fund for.”

As for those expenditures, the audit showed that Public Safety received the largest share (31.01%) of the FY 2020-21 budget. Human Services (21.82%), Education (20.97%), and General Government (17.44%) were next in line for the top amount of departmental expenditures.

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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