CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners announced the results of its 2012 audit of the county’s financial records during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Johnson, Nelson, Shimmel & Thomas LLP of Clearfield, the county’s certified public accountant, conducted the audit. Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen, chair, reviewed the highlights of the audit at the meeting.
The audit, she said, showed the county ended the year with a general fund balance of $4.8 million. She said this was down from 2011; however, they were not surprised by this outcome.
“We did reduce property taxes by 2.5 mills [in our 2011 budget], so it was expected,” she said. “And, $4.8 million is still a pretty good amount to have in your general fund.”
Robinson-McMillen said the county’s government-wide net assets were $23.1 million at the end of the year. She said this was a decrease, as the county eliminated items that had depreciated from its books.
According to her, there weren’t any outstanding bonds or notes shown in the audit. She said the county’s only outstanding debt was shown as lighting and heating upgrades at the Clearfield County Jail and 911 Center as part of its energy savings program and upgrades to its current administrative offices.
The county’s property tax rate was 18.5 mills for 2012, Robinson-McMillen said, adding the commissioners had started the budget process for the upcoming-year. She said all three commissioners were adamant about approving a budget without any property tax increase.
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken pointed out the county had a “very low debt load,” and has managed its finances well when other governing bodies at various levels are doing a lot of borrowing. Further, he said expenses came in slightly under what had been budgeted, and revenues came in line.
“The planning that went into that budget was right on-the-spot and where it needed to be,” he said. “Our philosophy is staying within the budget and watching our spending.”
He said other county department heads and elected officials have also worked to stay within their budgets and to watch their own spending, which he felt was evident in the auditor’s report.
Robinson-McMillen said the commissioners and the Controller’s Office work hand-in-hand throughout the budget process. She said Controller Tony Scotto is present at every budget hearing and given the opportunity to offer his input.