County budget in good shape mid-year

Wil Petty

February 20, 2014

The Ashe County Government remains in good financial shape with its budget, according to information provided to the Board of Commissioners at a special 10 a.m. meeting at the Ashe County Courthouse.

According to County Finance Officer Sandra Long, the county has 46.49 percent of its general funds left for Fiscal Year 2013-14. Long also noted the fiscal year is 62.5 percent complete.

“At this time every year, we always stop to take a look to see where we’re at (in the budget),” she said.

Expenditures and Revenues

As of Feb. 1, the county has $4,084,227 cash on hand and $12,169,133 in the general fund. Also noted were additional funds for Court Facility Fees ($63,818), Revaluation funds ($148,352) and E911 Special Revenue funds ($640,022).

Also mentioned were the expenditures through the midway point of the year, showing a majority of the funds were below 50 percent spent by Dec. 31. There were some exceptions, such as the governing body department (58.04 percent), which Long said was over because of fees paid at the beginning of the fiscal year.

According to the report, administrative expenditures were 39.51 percent used and finance was 44.84 percent used by Dec. 31. The fiscal year for 2013-14 runs from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

The lowest percentage of budgeted expenditures used were the county’s airport fund (11.51 percent) and economic development fund (8.09 percent).

“That will change quickly when the spring comes and projects start out there,” Long said of the airport expenditures.

The highest percentage of general fund expenditures were in the cultural arts department, where 62.18 percent of budgeted funding had been used. According to the report, 100 percent of the Arts Council appropriation had been paid.

Commissioner William Sands asked how those numbers compared to this point in FY 2012-13.

“We were ahead last year, just like we are this year,” Long said. “When I say ahead, I mean we are under-spending the 50 percent mark.”

According to the presentation, as of December 2013, the county had collected $12,920,097 in taxes, or 83.19 percent. It had also received $424,952 in back taxes, or 65.38 percent of what was budgeted.

These numbers are estimated in April and May for what should be budgeted, compared to what the final numbers are.

“I am telling you the percentage based on what was budgeted,” Long said. “Whenever we are doing the budget, we’re guessing what the levy is going to end up being. We’re working on it around April and May.”

Budget Amendments

During the regular session of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners meeting, the Board unanimously approved the following amendments to it’s budget.

• Increase Tax Administration appropriation from by $12,000. The increase is to be made from “unencumbered cash (fund balance) in the general fund.

• Increase Department of Elections appropriation by $17,778. The increase is made from unappropriated HAVA grant revenues.

• Increase Public Building appropriation by $2,670. The increase is made by unappropriated SRO reimbursement revenues from Ashe Board of Education.

• Increase Law Enforcement appropriation by $159,171. The increase will be made by an appropriation of $15,974 from contingency fund, $8,596 from a state grant for tactical vests, $18,687 from the Sheriff’s Drug Fund (state), $30,385 from Sheriff’s Drug Fund (federal) and $85,529 from Ashe Board of Education reimbursement for SRO program.

• Increase Department of Corrections appropriation by $100,000. Appropriation to be made with unappropriated inmate reimbursement revenues.

• Increase Emergency Management appropriation by $11,522. Appropriation to be made with additional unappropriated state revenues.

Commissioner Comments

In the regular session of the Commissioners meeting, members of the Board praised the work done by the county’s financial department.

“This is a very good balance to maintain and we are very pleased,” said Vice Chair Judy Porter Poe. “We just need to keep on watching what we are spending in the budget.”

Commissioner Sands also expressed his gratitude for the work done by the department.

“We had a very favorable report this morning, and I very much appreciate the county’s employees in all departments, in their efforts in keeping our expenditures down.”

Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.