In Bowie County Commissioners Court today, Todd Pruitt of Patillo, Brown and Hill CPAs introduced their Single Audit Report and Audit of Financial Statements.
Mr. Pruitt said the firm was happy to report an unmodified opinion, sometimes referred to as a clean opinion, which is the highest form of opinion they can issue, of the county’s financial statements. Pruitt said that, in the opinion of PBH, the financial statements are “free of any material mis-statements and are presented fairly and in accordance with general accounting principals.”
Pruitt addressed the financial challenges of the county, noting that while revenues had actually slightly exceeded the budgeted amounts, expenses had exceeded the budget by just under $1.3 million. Pruitt said that the short-term note for $5 million last year, which left the county with an approximate $2.5 million fund balance, should carry the county through the end of this fiscal year, but that the county needs to establish a plan to accumulate a fund balance of at least two months expenditures, and suggested building a fund balance sufficient to preclude the need for any more short-term loans.
Pruitt recommended that the county adopt a structurally balanced budget, one where the recurring revenues will pay for the recurring expenditures – and stick to it. “It doesn’t do any good to adopt a balanced budget if you’re going to just exceed your budgeted amount every year.”
County Judge James Carlow noted the pay cuts and staff reductions last year, and said the county is looking for ways to restore the cuts and bring the staffing back up to normal levels, but noted that there was “no revenue to pay for it.” Carlow said that in the upcoming budget process they would “try to figure out what we’ve got to have in order to provide minimum amount of adequate service to our citizens.” He noted problems with county roads and other pressing issues, and said, “We’re working together and we’re going to be able to figure out how to get this thing straightened and move forward. The main thing, we’ve got to quit spending more than we’re taking in.”
Single Audit Report (PDF)
(Financial report to be added later – please check back.)