Audit of Moffat County gets under way

Three months from now, Moffat County should have a better picture of what the county's financial situation will be like five years from now.

Geoff Withers, an auditor with Policy Research Associates of Parker, began conducting a performance audit on Moffat County government on Tuesday, with the goal of outlining a strategy to balance the budget for the next five years.

"This will tell us what we need to do because of declining revenues," said Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos.

Performing the audit was a condition of a $545,000 grant the county received from the Department of Local Affairs last year. The cost of the audit, $30,455, will be paid using that grant. Even though the audit is a condition of the grant, Raftopoulos said the commissioners welcomed the chance to evaluate the budget.

Withers could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. But according to his audit proposal, he will meet with each county department head for an in-depth analysis of each department's procurement and cash management procedures and each department's revenue and expenditures in comparison with other counties.

Withers will then work to revise department budgets based on increased efficiencies developed through the analysis. Each department's capital budget will be established using projected interest rates for borrowing.

The county's revenue sources for the next five years will be projected based on factors such as the assessor's expertise on the property tax base, the treasurer's experience with uncollectable taxes and the sheriff's expectation for jail reimbursements.

Revenues and capital expenditures will then be assembled into a five-year operating and capital financial plan. The resulting budget will reflect any need to change current county management policies.

Raftopoulos said the audit should be finished in about three months.

The rest of the funds from the DOLA grant have been earmarked for capital operating expenses, such as Road and Bridge Department projects, lease payments on equipment and payments on the hospital ambulance.

Withers worked for DOLA for 23 years. According to his resume, he developed a full financial plan for Costilla County, even though that county did not know its financial situation or have an adequate financial system.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at

rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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