County ship appears to be floating

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 22, 2010

Despite being surrounded from all sides by rough financial waters, Adams County’s leadership team is paddling in the right direction to clean up the county’s credit rating.

Just a few short months after supervisors learned that the county’s bond rating — the government version of a personal credit score — had been lowered due to some poor financial practices, the ship seems to be somewhat righted.

Chancery Court Clerk Tommy O’Beirne predicts that, barring any unforeseen disaster, the county should have its books cleaned up and a substantial cash balance in its general fund by fiscal year end.

That’s great news, helped in no small part by several new influxes of cash to county coffers — including taxes from CCA’s Adams County Correctional Center and strong oil-tax revenue.

Although the work done may not guarantee an improved bond rating, it should put the county in position to better argue its case for an upgrade.

In addition, it should give county taxpayers peace of mind, knowing the practices of the past have been corrected and supervisors are keeping a better eye toward the county’s financial reputation.

When the bond rating is improved and fiscal waters calm, we hope the county uses conservative fiscal practices, borrowing and spending wisely, in measured amounts rather than the drunken sailor approach that often comes as elections near.