Moffat County Commission hears 2011 audit presentation

On Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission received results of its 2011 audit and was commended for increasing funds during a recession.

Paul Backes, of McMahan and Associates, LLC based in Avon, presented the audit to the commissioners, focusing on what he believed was the most important piece of the 94-page report, an analysis of the county’s spending versus incoming revenues.

According to a statement of revenues, expenses and changes in fund balances, Moffat County generated $29,236,705 in total revenue in 2011, and allocated $28,330,110 for county services.

In addition, the county transferred $2,924,970 from other financing sources, but also transferred out $3,104,117 for a net loss of $179,147.

When taken collectively, the county was able to appropriate an extra $727,448 to its 2012 budget, the bulk of which was allocated to the general fund.

The extra money increased general fund dollars by about 20 percent in 2012 over 2011, Backes said.

“The good news, which I never get to present anymore, is you guys had a really great year financially,” Backes said. “Almost nobody has increases to their fund balances anymore.”

Commissioner Tom Gray addressed potential critics who might interpret the 2011 audit as an example of county officials stockpiling reserve funds.

“(These are the) final audited numbers for 2011 and we budgeted for 2011 in 2010, right in the heart of the recession, so we didn’t know how bad things were going to be,” Gray said. “We allocated a lot of our reserves for significant capital improvement projects in 2012, so those fund balances won’t be as high a year from now.

“I don’t want the community to think we’re just continually building fund balances.”

Increasing those funds and maintaining a reserve account is appropriate, Backes said, particularly in Moffat County where the top 10 property tax payers contribute close to 60 percent of the tax revenue collected by the county.

“I think you have to carry a little higher fund balance than a lot of other counties because you have some major tax payers contributing to the bulk (of your revenue),” Backes said.

“If things change it could have a pretty big impact on Moffat County and I think that is worth pointing out.”

Gray said the positive results of the audit go beyond decisions made by the county’s elected officials and expressed the important role county employees play in maintaining efficient government. Backes agreed.

“You have good fund balances, controls are all working and you have a good staff,” Backes said. “If I was sitting on your side of the table, I know it makes your job a lot easier when you don’t have to worry about whether the numbers are correct.”

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