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County again adds $$$ to rainy day fund

Henderson County’s department heads and budget managers again ran a tight fiscal ship in the budget year that ended last June 39, spending $13.3 million less than budgeted, auditors reported last week.

The savings on the expenditure side enabled the county to sustain its string of adding to its fund balance every year except one over the past 20 years. Results of the annual audit of the county’s finances were presented to the Board of Commissioners last week by Daniel Gougherty of the external audit firm Cherry Bekaert.
The budget commissioners adopted in the spring of 2022 set operating cost, capital expenditures and debt service at $197.36 million; actual spending came in at $184.1 million. On the revenue side, the county missed the mark by $6.12 million, collecting $191.2 million instead of the projected $197.4 million. Overall, though, revenue exceeded expenses by $7,137,849, the amount the county has now socked away in its rainy day fund.
Disciplined spending and fiscal rectitude, commissioners say, account for the county’s ability to increase its fund balance. When it adopted the FY 2022-23, the board appropriated $19,509,951 in reserves to balance the budget. None was needed. The $7 million boost increased the fund balance to $45 million, which is double the County Commission’s policy of 12 percent of its total budget. The policy level is $22 million; the amount over that is $22.9 million, the audit noted.
The county has stashed away revenue-over-expenses cash at the end of every fiscal year since 2004 except one. In 2013, the fund balance dropped by $127,531. The high-water mark for adding to the reserves was $17 million in FY 2020-21; last year the county added $5.6 million.

County employees granted Christmas bonus

Earlier in the same meeting last Monday, commissioners voted unanimously to authorize a Christmas bonus of $500 for county employees, citing the fiscal performance for padding the county’s savings as part of the reason.
“Having expressed a desire to thank employees for their dedication and hard work throughout the fiscal year," commissioners granted the one-time bonus to each permanent employee on the payroll as of Nov. 20 including Cooperative Extension employees and auxiliary employees who have worked more than 50 hours since July 1.