Polk banks highest fund balance since 2008

Published 6:56 pm Friday, December 6, 2013

Commissioners review year-end 2013 audit

Polk County Commissioners reviewed the county’s fiscal year 2012-2013 audit report, which included the highest fund balance in years at $7,157,371 available for spending.

Commissioners met Monday, Dec. 2 ,and heard from Kimberly Hooks, with Dixon Hughes Goodman LLC. Hooks said her company performed a compliance report to test compliance with federal and state requirements and noted no incidences.

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“We are pleased to report we encountered no issues, no corrected misstatements,” Hooks said.

She added that all the county’s finances were in good order and the audit process went very well.

Auditors reported no findings to the county.

Commissioner Tom Pack asked about the county’s fund balance, saying that the media has asked about the county’s savings. Hooks said Polk County’s available fund balance was at 32.22 percent and the prior year it was 30.57 percent so the fund balance increased.

Polk’s fund balance percentage is the highest it has been since 2010 and the actual amount is the highest it has been since 2008. At year-end 2013 the county’s $7,157,371 available fund balance is compared to $6,839,732 at year-end 2012; $6,806,773 at year-end 2011 and $7,058,899 at year-end 2010. The county’s highest fund balance since 2004 was in 2008 at $7,679,650, or 34 percent of its general fund expenditures. In 2007, the county’s fund balance was $7,276,793, or 34.6 percent of its general fund expenditures (see chart below).

The state requires that local governments keep at least eight percent of its general fund in reserves.

Commissioner Michael Gage asked when the county took out capital expenses in the current year’s budget if that affected the current audit’s fund balance.

County finance director Sandra Hughes said the county took this year’s capital expenses out of last year’s savings so in theory it will reduce the county’s fund balance for next year.

Pack said the county pulled and reserved money for a waterline last year so that will not reduce the fund balance at the end of this fiscal year. Hughes said the county still has the audit’s fund balance after spending $1.5 million on a waterline. The waterline Pack and Hughes were referring to is one the county is running along Hwy. 9, from the Peniel Road intersection to the Hwy. 108 intersection in Mill Spring.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said the audit was for the budget that started July 1, 2012 and ended June 30, 2013 and was based on county manager Ryan Whitson’s (who is on military leave) conservative estimates. Gasperson said as a result, some of the county’s revenues came in stronger and that helped to add to the fund balance. Gasperson also said the audit report is becoming like a broken record of being positive and thanked Hughes and her staff for being a strong, stable department.

The county’s original budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 was to collect $20,700,098 in total general fund revenues and it actually collected 22,183,549 for an excess of $1,213,727, according to the audit report. Spending also was  kept within budget for departments ending with revenues over expenditures of $1,902,975.

Another highlight of the audit report commissioners mentioned was the tax collection rate. Polk County collected 96.98 percent of its taxes, including for property and motor vehicles. The property tax collection rate was 97.47 percent with the motor vehicle tax collection rate at 89.05 percent.

The current fiscal year ends on June 30, 2014.