County Receives Clean Audit Report

The Clearfield County Board of Commissioners named John A. Sobel its chairperson. Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen will serve as the board’s vice chairperson. Pictured, from left to right, are Sobel, Commissioner Mark B. McCracken and Robinson-McMillen. (Photo by Jessica Shirey)

CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County Government was issued a clean audit report for 2013, announced Brent Thomas, certified public accountant, of Johnston, Nelson, Shimmel & Thomas LLP, at Tuesday’s commissioners’ meeting.

The county had previously adopted a balanced budget with its revenues to equal its expenditures. However, the actual audit showed revenues exceeded expenditures by $100,000 and an ending general fund balance of $4.9 million, he said.

According to him, the county’s government-wide financial statements showed $23.6 million in net assets at the end of 2013, an increase of $500,000. He said the county had $2 million in debt, which he noted was “commendable” as most governments, including those that are smaller, have greater debt.

“We are financially sound,” said Thomas. He said in 2013, the county’s real estate tax rate was 18.5 mills, which it has maintained since 2011.  “…We’re in a pretty good system here.”

Commissioner Mark B. McCracken issued the following statement on the county’s audit report. He said, “The results of the audit for 2013 show that Clearfield County Government is operating within its means. During 2013, budgeted revenues fell within projections and expenses came in under budget.

“I acknowledge the various row officers and department directors who did an effective job managing their individual department budgets, which is reflected in the audit results.  I would note for the record that Clearfield County, unlike the federal government in Washington and the state government in Harrisburg, has a balanced budget and is accurately projecting revenues and controlling expenses.”

He added that, “The audit shows the county is maintaining a positive fund balance, carrying a very low debt ratio, funding upgrades to the 9-1-1 system and fully funding the annual contribution to the county employee’s pension fund. The county pension fund is managed by the Clearfield County Retirement Board and is not associated with the state government pension plan that is severely underfunded.”

Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen said the county’s audit was “good news” while the commissioners are currently “crunching numbers” for the upcoming year’s budget. The commissioners, she said, have conducted their budget hearings with the county’s department heads and are expected to receive primary budget numbers from the Controller’s Office this week.

“Then, we will begin axing; the times are lean,” she said, adding the county is mandated to have a balanced budget every year. “Our budget is our best guestimate … it’s a juggling act because you never know when your expenses will increase, you have employees with needs and you have to maintain your buildings.”

Robinson-McMillen credited the county’s clean audit report on the teamwork of the commissioners, the Controller’s Office and the county’s auditor.

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