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County coffers finally flush

It’s a much different financial picture for the Covington County Commission than last year this time – a fact that commissioners are most thankful for, Chairman Lynn Sasser said.

“We are much better off than we have been in years,” Sasser said at Monday’s commission meeting. It’s also a fact that County Administra-tor Brenda Petty attributes to several factors, she said.

“We’ve been lucky enough to pay off several pieces of equipment,” she said. “Department heads have been very aware of staying within their budget, and other things of that nature have made a tremendous difference.

“Things are far better now than two years ago,” she said. “Plus, no employee layoffs due to lack of funds to make payroll.”

As a testament to the new financial picture, employees are now paid for overtime instead of being given compensatory time, and figures provided by the county administration office show the county’s “cash flow” improved dramatically from 2008 to Sept. 30, 2010, the end of the most recent fiscal year.

At the end of 2008, the county had a total cash balance of $1.15 million, an outstanding receivable balance (or a balance of money owed to the county but not yet paid) of $737,460. And while the total county cash asset balance – a figure showing the total of all the county’s cash accounts – was $1.89 million, the county recorded a cash deficit of $86,371 in the general fund.

In 2009, figures improved slightly with $24,840 of cash in the general fund and $157,907 on the books as receivables to the account. The year’s total of cash balance was recorded at nearly $2.55 million and the receivables at $1.12 million, to bring the total cash asset balance to nearly $3.67 million – a figure was a $1.78 million increase from the 2008 fiscal year end.

By Sept. 2010, Petty said general fund cash balances had increased to $458,540 “in the bank” and $229,790 in receivables on the books. The year’s total of cash balance was recorded at nearly $3.1 million and the receivables at $2.3 million, to bring the total cash asset balance to nearly $5.4 million.

The bulk of that increase came in the form of disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following two flooding instances in 2009.

In the 2010 fiscal year, the county received $750,651 in “cash” from FEMA and recorded $1.08 million in receivables, bringing the total to $1.83 million in FEMA funds.