Morgan County is in good financial health.
That was the overall theme of the fiscal year 2021 audit as was presented to the Morgan County Commissioners during their regular meeting this morning. Adam Withee of Zumbahlen, Eyth, Surratt, Foote & Flynn says he thinks the audit went very well this year.
“A number of years that I was in charge of the audit there were no findings. We’ve had a couple of findings the last three or four years. I think a lot of the kind of turnover in the Treasurer’s Office and the shifting to a new software caused some issues that led to some of those findings.
But we did see that it was mitigated this year and that the operations and the accounting were much more consistent and as it should be. So we were able to remove the findings and they had a clean audit this year.”
Withee noted during the review that the County had a substantial increase in funds, which he says was to be expected considering the fiscal year being reviewed ended on August 31st of last year.
Commissioner Chair Bradley Zeller says overall the Commissioners are very pleased with the numbers in this year’s audit. “The revenue increase, of course, a lot of it is from the one-time ARPA grant, and it’s going to allow us to do some capital projects that were way overdue at the county. The one-time revenue that came in from the application for the wind farm permits, and between those two, make up a lot of that portion of the revenue.
We also did see that sales tax and income tax were up also so, I think that’s more of an indicator of the county’s health, and that we continue to see the revenues increase a little bit. Which is good for the community, and we look forward to seeing these capital projects come to fruition.”
Morgan County also has no debt other than the usual operating expenses. Withee says that is not common within many municipalities, and that usually to finance equipment purchases or construction, a municipality would need to sell bonds, something Morgan County has not had to do in recent years.
Withee says, however, that this year is a little odd compared to other years. “With all the federal money that’s out there because of Covid, some of the changing operations at the health department to adapt to Covid, those kind of things. But overall the health of the county, the general fund has got a good cash position, and at the same time, the tax rates overall have actually been able to decrease sightly. Over the last three years that rate per EAV has actually come down a little bit. So I think the county’s been able to do a lot and move forward and do more with what they’ve got now and at the same time try and keep that pressure on the property taxes down.”
Withee says over the course of FY2021, Morgan County only spent approximately 92% of the annual budget and that it also has a net pension asset, meaning the county’s IMRF funds performed well during the period and the county does not have pension debt.