An audit of Taney County’s financial for 2020 has returned an unmodified or “clean” report. This means the auditor feels the county has fairly presented its financial statements in accordance with the cash basis of accounting.
An unmodified opinion is the best rating which can be given in an audit. The CPAs did not notice any non-compliance or material weaknesses in the county’s controls.
Andy Marmouget, a CPA with KPM CPAs & Advisors of Springfield and Branson, presented the audit to the Taney County Commission during a special meeting on Sept. 9. Marmouget specializes in governmental audits.
KPM audited both the county’s financial statements and the county’s biggest federal program, which is a federal government requirement. Marmouget noted the report came a little later than usual this year.
“We are delivering this report a little later than we normally do,” Marmouget said. “The reason is we waited on Developmental Connections to complete their audit, so they can be included with the county, as required by the accounting standards.”
The county showed total receipts in the general fund of $12,030,933 for 2020, down about $600,000 from 2019. Marmouget attributed the deficit to a lack of sales tax income, which was just under $7.9 million.
The total disbursements from the county’s general fund were just over $13.7 million, a decline of $1.1 million from 2019. Marmouget said the decline comes from the airport capital improvements from the prior year.
While expenditures outpaced receipts by $1.68 million, the county ended up with small growth in the general fund following a transfer of just over $1.7 million from other funds. The county’s fund balance at the end of 2020 was $5.14 million.
Every fund other than the general fund transferred out money to other funds during 2020.
While the general fund’s significant deficit was balanced by transfers in from other funds, the County Sewer Sales Tax Fund saw a $6.4 million decrease from $14.2 million to $7.8 million, which the auditor attributed to various sewer construction projects.
The county received almost $6.6 million in Coronavirus relief funds, distributing about $3.56 million to partner agencies, and $462,000 to the general fund to reimburse the county for Coronavirus related expenses.
Overall, the county had a financial position of just over $34.2 million at the start of 2020, and finished the year at just under $31.5 million, a decrease of approximately $2.7 million.
The county’s long term debt includes 2015 Lease Refunding Certificates of Participation for construction of the new judicial facility; the county still owes $3.935 million on those certificates. In 2021, the county will make a payment of $1.53 million.
The county also has an outstanding amount on compensated absences of $270,000.
“That is primarily unpaid workman’s comp which has accrued,” Marmouget said.
There is also outstanding long-term debt connected to Certificates of Participation in 2008 to add an addition to the Taney County Health Center. The current balance is $196,982, with $71,435 scheduled to be paid in 2021.
The auditor also said the county received a “clean” opinion on the separate audit of the Coronavirus relief fund.
“Any time the government spends over $750,000 in federal funds, this audit is required, and the county spent $6.6 million in federal funds, most of it in coronavirus funds,” Marmouget said. “The coronavirus was a big undertaking for the county, a lot of work went into it, and the county did a very good job in handling those monies. I want to congratulate the county.”
Marmouget also commended the county for changing their policies to make sure two signatures are on county checks, which is a suggested change the county put into effect.
County officials surprised the auditor at the end of the meeting, when the auditor suggested the county create a purchase order system for buying items. County staff said they implemented the system in 2021, after this audit was completed, and the auditor was pleased with the change.
The auditor also brought up cybersecurity, which he noted they put into all audits.
“Governments have been highly targeted by cybercriminals,” Marmouget said. He encouraged education for employees on fraudulent emails, as this is the most common method of access, have insurance, and a backup system in place.
Taney County Commissioners were pleased with the audit result.
“We strive to meet all requirements set by the statutes of Missouri in all county practices and in doing so being transparent to all,” Taney County Eastern District Commissioner Sheila Wyatt told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “I feel the outside Independent Financial Audit done by KPM CPA, PC for the 2020 tax year reflects that.”
A copy of the audit can be obtained by visiting the Taney County Commission offices.