Friday, May 03, 2013
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2012 audit shows county 'moving in the right direction'

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[May 03, 2013]  The primary item discussed by the Logan County Board in April was the recent fiscal 2012 audit completed by CliftonLarsonAllen. The board also talked about future audits and budgetary preparation.

Jeff Bonick of CLA was present to give a brief presentation on the audit of the county's financial status at the end of last year. He used the time to go through some of what he called the highlights of the report. The report contained information not only from last year, but the last five years, for a comparison of data.

Bonick said that while the numbers presented by the audit sound very high, a lot of the money used by the county is tied to various accounts and organizations. As an example, as of last November, the county had $4.3 million in cash and cash equivalents, but most of that money was dedicated for specific purposes.

A source of increased revenue for the county came in the form of property taxes. There was a $170,000 increase in the amount that was collected, bringing the total to around $3.5 million. Bonick said the increase was due to a higher land value for 2012, as well as a higher tax rate in general.

He also pointed out that county expenses were down by around $350,000 from the previous year.

Bonick said the county seems to be headed in the right direction financially and the board should keep doing what they have been to keep the momentum going. Bonick pointed to the $350,000 increase in the general fund balance as an example. The current general fund balance is $938,000 for the unreserved portion.

"Try to get to a level of at least 25 percent of your annual expenditures," Bonick said.

He added that the county receives its tax money just before the end of the fiscal year. As a result, the county's finances then look a lot better than at other times of the year.

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Bonick said that while he has personally worked with Logan County just twice on their audit, he has heard at his office that Logan County has significantly improved over the last five years.

"Kudos to the finance committee and the board," said Bonick.

As part of the audit, CLA made the recommendation that the county abolish its working cash fund. This fund is not a necessity, has not been used in several years, and adds more accounting and paperwork with each budget and audit. The board members voted to abolish the fund, and a new one cannot be established for 10 years.

Chuck Ruben said the increased fund balances will be a great help in offsetting expenditures this year and will make the finances look a little better before next year.

Following the presentation and discussions of the audit, the board voted to approve the audit, and it will be filed with the appropriate agencies.

In a related matter, the board also voted to send out for proposals from financial companies in the central Illinois area. CLA will be one of those firms. The county is looking to find one company that will handle both their audits and budget preparations.

Board members present for the meeting were vice chairman David Hepler, chairman Robert Farmer, Andy Anderson, Kevin Bateman, Pat O'Neill, Gene Rohlfs, Chuck Ruben, Terry Carlton, Rick Aylesworth, Andy Meister and Jan Schumacher.


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