by Steve Peterson
Plymouth County Supervisors heard a positive audit review from Jeff Peters of Williams & Co., of Le Mars for Fiscal Year 2011-2012.
“In our opinion, the financial statements are presented fairly and accurately,” said Peters. “It is an unqualified opinion, nothing needs to be change, that’s good and it’s been several years now we have been able to issue an unqualified opinion. “
“In the Management, Discussion and Analysis, that section gives staff an opportunity to compare this year to last year. It gives you highlights,” he said.
“Government-Wide Financial Statements, all of the information of the county is put in one set of numbers, and is good to compare in assets, $84.8 million, and what do we owe on those assets, $27.4 million, leaving an equity net asset of $57 million. Here we group Secondary Roads, Rural Services, everything into one set of numbers,” said Peters.
“The General Fund improved by $5.9 million over last year,” he said.
The Statement of Revenues, expenditures, changes, by major fund defined by size, and the General Fund, was up $604,000, leaving a fund balance at the end of the year of $1,504,000, said Peters. That is the equivalent of 90 days of expenses. When you think of your budget revenue stream, you get two big checks, on April 15 and October 15, you need 100 to 120 days of fund balance to get you to that spot. That (90 days) is a pretty significant improvement from what it was a year ago.
“If there is not an outside restriction for the use of the money, a separate tax levy, those are listed separately, said Peters. Those actions that the board has taken action on, you want to set those monies aside and you encounter them in a separate fund but they are really part of the General Fund.”
“There is a $1.5 million fund balance in the General Fund, $1.2 million is unassigned,” he said. “Your General basic Fund balance and 90 days is good but the low end is good. You’re in good shape but you still have to tighten the budget and manage the process.”
“The state will tell you that you need a 10 percent reserve. To me that is dangerously low. I look at it and say when do you get your money,” said Peters. “Of the $6.7 million General Fund revenue, $4.3 million is taxes. You have to have a reserve to get to Oct. 15 and April 15.
If you take the $6.4 million in expenses that you’ve had in the General Fund, the $1.5 million balance is $20,000 a day to operate the county on, he explained. Mental Health showing a positive is a good thing, Rural Services and Secondary Roads improved and they are based on projects. Joint Urban Renewal shows an $800,000 deficit because you are waiting on TIF revenue.
Debt Service, $593,000 to $520,000, due to reissued bonds and are crossover refunding bonds but you could not call the bonds, said Peters. The crossover date is June 2013. It is drawing interest. You have $500,000 in your Debt Service fund.
Peters pointed out the county spent more than $500,000 in federal money, making it a single audit requirement.
Last year you spent $598,000 in federal dollars, he said.