County gets clean bill of financial health
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Morgan County auditors presented the review for the 2008 preliminary Fiscal Year at the commissioners’ regular meeting last week, and the county received a glowing report.
“The…audit is great,” said County Financial Officer Lynn Zachary.
According to the report by Bates, Carter & Co., the county is doing an excellent job of implementing, testing, and reporting on internal money controls.
“[Fiscal year] 2008 showed much improvement with no findings for finance issued,” read the preliminary audit.
The county received 40 percent of its 2008 revenues from property taxes, and 37 percent from other taxes, according to the Bates, Carter presentation.
The county’s expenditures went primarily to capital (30 percent), public safety (19 percent), debt (12 percent), general (11 percent) and public works (8 percent).
The county’s General Fund dropped about $63,000 in FY’08, which was an improvement over the $348 thousand that it was expected to drop.
Most county departments, according to Bates, Carter, were under budget for the year.
Morgan County continues to maintain a median millage rate compared to other counties in the area. Morgan’s rate of 8.350 compares favorably with Barrow County (9.34), Clarke County (13.95). Jasper County (11.53), Newton County (12.17), and Walton County (10.55). Only Greene (5.91), Oconee (6.686), and Putnam (4.3) counties had lower millage rates, according to Bates, Carter.
Finally, the county’s ratio of debt service to revenues jumped in 2008, to 14.25 percent.
That increase is mainly due to interest and principal payments on the $19 million in bonds issued to finance the new jail.
The 14.25 percent, however, is still below similar-sized counties that carry an average ratio of 16.08 percent, according to Bates, Carter.