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Auditor: Gregg County in good fiscal shape

By Glenn Evans
April 22, 2013 at 10 p.m.

An independent financial auditor reported to Gregg County commissioners Monday the county used sound bookkeeping in managing its $24.3 million budget in 2012.

Auditor Chris Pruitt also gave a thumbs-up on the county's financial soundness after pointing out the mission of such audits is strictly to evaluate whether the books were accurate for the year in question.

"If I were to analyze the financials, you're way above average health-wise," said Pruitt, who is with Southwest U.S. auditors, Pattillo Brown and Hill. "Financially, you're in a very good position."

That position was highlighted by the county's lack of debt. Commissioner Ronnie McKinney had asked if he was correctly reading a chart indicating county debt falling from $3.4 million in 2003 to $265,000 by 2008 and zero since then.

"That is correct," Pruitt said.

The county's balance sheet showed $75.4 million in total assets, which includes local, state and federal pass-through money. That included a $33.8 million fund balance. Another $20 million was held in a capital improvement account that allows the county to fund large projects such as the George Richey Road extension without taking on debt.

Commissioner John Mathis and others praised County Auditor Laurie Woloszyn for making officials adhere to the strict legal rules attached to county spending. Unlike other governments, which can spend on items unless prohibited, counties can spend money only on items specified by law.

"Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree and look at you like a devil," Mathis told Woloszyn. "But you keep me out of jail."

Commissioners later Monday agreed to spend $82,900 to replace the West Point Bridge Road bridge over Bell Creek.

The state actually has responsibility for bridges, but the county is replacing the bridge south of Liberty City as its in-kind contribution to bridge work the Texas Department of Transportation plans on Fritz Swanson Road, Woloszyn said.



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