° empty

County has money in the bank

NATCHEZ — Adams County ended fiscal year 2011-2012 with almost three-quarters of a million dollars more than it did the previous year.

Adams County Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne said the county ended the year with approximately $2.9 million across its dedicated fund accounts, including a balance of approximately $330,000 in the county general fund.

For fiscal year 2010-2011, the total balance across funds was $2.2 million.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said the county has not seen an end-of-year balance like this since the close of operations at the International Paper and Johns-Manville Natchez plants.

“It has been a long time since we have seen a really good cash balance,” Grennell said.

Just as notable as the end-of-year balance was the fact that all county interfund loans were paid off by the end of the fiscal year, O’Beirne said.

That’s something the chancery clerk said he has never been able to do before.

“From an auditor’s standpoint, this is a great thing for the county, because that has been one of the criticisms of past years, the (delayed) paying off of the interfund loans,” Grennell said.

O’Beirne said interfund loans are made during the fiscal year by transferring money from one dedicated fund account to another to ensure all accounts have a positive balance.

By law, all interfund loans have to be repaid within a year of being made, but O’Beirne said being able to start a new fiscal year with no interfund loans on the books is a positive for the county.

“When we get to trying to have our bond rating reassessed, it will certainly give us a favorable light in that direction,” O’Beirne said.

In 2010, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Adams County’s bond rating based in part on the fact that the county ran a deficit from 2000 to 2008.

Since 2009, the county has run positive budgets but has still had interfund loans that crossed fiscal years. In recent years, the supervisors have spoken of having the conscious goal of positive year-end balances, and Grennell said he was elated to find out that the county had been able to pay off all its interfund loans.

The board president said he credited County Administrator Joe Murray and the county department heads with keeping an especially close eye on their budgets this year as significant reasons for the county’s year-end balances.

Murray said Wednesday he would have a final amended budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 that would reflect the year-end numbers prepared by the end of the month.