Audit reveals good accounting practices Deficit still a concern for county

A report on the annual outside financial audit for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2016, was presented to the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court Aug. 22.

John Manning of the Patillo Brown and Hill L. L. P. audit firm, located in Waco, made the presentation to the commissioners after being introduced by VZC Auditor Freddy Thomas.

“We are here to give you an unmodified opinion on your financial statements,” said Manning. “As outside auditors, we can give you one of four different types of opinions and the unmodified opinion is the highest level of assurance that we can offer.”

Manning delivered good news to the commissioners regarding the work being done in the county auditor’s office.

“From a balance sheet standpoint, what we found in the auditor’s office was in very good shape and very easy to go through,” pointed out Manning. “This is the first year that our firm has done the audit and there were some growing pains. We found things in good working order.”

The general fund reserve continues to be an area of concern for the county, according to the outside auditor.

“This is a constant area of concern,” said Manning. “Last year, the deficit was almost $300,000 and this year, it is not a lot better. There is still a deficit but it is a little under $60,000 this year so there was $240,000 in improvement. That needs to get better. I know there are efforts to improve that and there are some tough decisions being made to get that figure where it needs to be.”

Manning suggested that a cash reserve covering 90 days to three months is needed for the county. “Three months might be a little extreme,” said Manning. “You are moving in the right direction. Those decisions are not easy.”

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