County receives good audit

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By Chris Sardelli

Following years of solid financial reports, Lancaster County once again received a good rating during this year’s annual audit.

Sheila Morgan, a CPA with accounting firm McAbee Talbert Halliday & Co., presented the audit results at the Lancaster County Council meeting on  Dec. 10. Morgan issued the county an unqualified “clean” opinion, meaning it was in good financial shape.

“We’re pleased to say we encountered no difficulties during the audit,” Morgan said.

State regulations require the county issue an annual report on its financial status and an independent firm must conduct the audit.

Morgan’s firm, which has conducted the audit for the last several years, looked at the county’s funds, expenses, leases and assets. The firm also reported accounting estimates based on uncollected taxes and depreciation of certain items.

Highlights of the county’s General Fund were recorded in the audit report, with revenues for the year listed as $33,327,890 and expenditures listed as $33,698,057, for a difference of $370,167. The county’s total fund balance as of June 30 was $36,769,200 and net assets were listed at $67,466,114.

Morgan also noted in the report the county’s legal debt margin. This is the county’s ability to borrow under the S.C. Code of Laws, which is 8 percent of assessed value without a referendum. As of June 30, the county’s legal debt margin was $6,581,015.

“I want to express appreciation to (finance director) Veronica Thompson and her staff for their help in this process,” Morgan said.

County administrator Steve Willis said the county’s finance department had also been awarded its first Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The award, which is the highest award in governmental budgeting, is presented by the Government Finance Officers Association for thorough and complete annual audits.

“This started five years ago when Veronica said she wanted to go for it,” Willis said. “But there is a lot of statistical data that needs to be gathered.”

After five years of collecting budgetary data, the department submitted its information earlier this year and received the award Nov. 26.

Willis called the achievement impressive, especially considering the department’s many years of also being awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

“This reflects highly on our finance department,” Willis said.

Thompson thanked senior accountant Sarah Jenkins for her work in achieving the award.


 Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416