Auditors say county in good shape

October 29, 1997


Staff Writer

Washington County's auditors told the Washington County Commissioners Tuesday that the county was in good shape financially after recording a $4.7 million general fund surplus.

"All the funds with the big numbers in it are in pretty good shape, County Commuter excepted," said accountant Michael P. Manspeaker, of Smith Elliott Kearns & Co.

Manspeaker credited millions in unanticipated income tax and property tax revenue from the healthy economy for most of the surplus in fiscal year 1997, which ended June 30.


The bus system took in just $316,000 in operating revenue and had $1.6 million in operating expenses.

The system had a net deficit of $156,728 after anticipated federal and state grant money came in under budget, Manspeaker said. That figure doesn't include a $200,000 yearly subsidy from the county's general fund.

The county's Water and Sewer Department ended the year with a $177,711 surplus, with the help of a $2.7 million subsidy from the general fund.

Manspeaker said the operating loss had dropped from $3.2 million in the year before the county took over the Washington County Sanitary District to $2.5 million last year.

County departments came in at or below their budgets with the exception of the Washington County Sheriff's Department. A boom in the inmate population and associated higher costs in food and medical care caused spending on corrections to come in $450,000 over budget.

The commissioners have already put $2.3 million of the surplus into the capital spending budget, leaving the county with an additional $2.4 million for general reserves.

The total general fund balance rose to $9.2 million. Manspeaker said that was a healthy 10 percent of the county's budget, the highest percentage since 1991.

The Washington County Regional Airport showed a net surplus of $68,263, and the Black Rock Golf Course had a surplus of $178,401.

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