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Posted February 4, 2014 | Leave a comment
Audit shows Warren County had strong year
By Alex Bridges
FRONT ROYAL-- Warren County finished out the last fiscal year on a strong note, according to the latest audit.
Matthew McLearen, of Robinson, Farmer Cox Associates, presented the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal 2013 to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The county is required to have a financial audit performed each year.
County Administrator Douglas Stanley pointed out that the county collected $62.29 million in fiscal 2013 -- $3.55 million more than projected.
Supervisor Richard Traczyk asked McLearen to summarize the financial condition of the county in simple terms.
"Warren County had a great fiscal year," McLearen said. "In 2013, general fund, the main operating fund increased substantially. Tax collection remained strong."
McLearen explained that the county's ratio of debt to the assessed value of property remains low. The county is not required to maintain a certain ratio, McLearen said.
Many local governments commonly keep reserve funds equal to at least 15 percent of their budgets for operations and the school system, McLearen said. Warren County's reserves in fiscal 2013 equaled more than 19 percent of the budgets.
"Certainly every situation's different but 19.4 percent exceeds that amount and the general fund had an increase of about $3.3 million, which is a very healthy increase," McLearen said.
McLearen explained that the $17 million in the fund balance, or reserves, reflects only 19.4 percent of the two operating budgets and not spending committed to other special projects.
Supervisor Tony Carter warned that the county could quickly use its reserves, noting that while it looks healthy, "it could go away very fast with some of the stuff we've had."
The board accepted the audit as presented. Carter also suggested that, in the future, the board receive copies of the report a week or two ahead of the presentation to give members time to read and understand the information.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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