June figures show county’s finances healthy

Published 10:31 am Friday, June 3, 2011

A five-month analysis of the general fund finances shows the county is in strong financial shape.

That was the report County Auditor Jason Stephens gave to the Lawrence County Commission at its Thursday meeting.

“Lawrence County, on its own, we are in a sound position financially,” Stephens said. “When compared to other counties, we are extremely good.”

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As of June 1, the county’s general fund had $1,178,143 cash on hand. That compares to a year ago when cash on hand was $797,299. In June there are $220,330 in bills anticipated coming due leaving an end-of-month balance of $957,813.

“We started the year with $900,000,” Commission President Les Boggs said. “We have actually gained over $200,000.”

Out of the four components that make up the county’s general fund, the one and a half percent sales tax funds two of them. One-half percent goes to the emergency services fund and one percent goes to the regular general fund that also takes in taxes, fees and local government money. Funding for the veterans administration and fees from the auditor’s, treasurer’s and recorder’s offices comprise the two other subfunds.

Right now sales tax revenue is up 6.8 percent from what the auditor’s office certified in 2010 and that figure is one percent over what was actually collected this time last year.

Monthly reports of the county’s finances are available on the auditor’s website at www.lawrencecountyauditor.org.

The auditor’s office continues to process complaints from 350 property owners who dispute the recent property re-evaluation. For each disputed parcel an appraiser goes out to re-evaluate. That new figure will be sent to the homeowners to see if they then agree. If not, the homeowners can make their case before the county’s board of revision made up of the county auditor, county treasurer and commission president.

“We have a little less than 100 back from the appraiser,” Stephens said. “(The process) helps us in the auditor’s office to find mistakes that need to be corrected. That is what the board of revision is about, to make sure everything is done fairly.”