Houston County audit called ‘exceptional’

wcrenshaw@macon.comJanuary 22, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker compares the county’s annual audit to a person getting an annual physical.

“You go to the doctor and think everything is OK with you but you sit and wait for days sometimes before you find out whether everything is OK with you,” he said in presenting the audit at Tuesday’s commission meeting. “We feel the same way with the audit because you really don’t know whether everything is OK until you hear back from the auditors.”

The results are in, he said, and the county is in exceptional health financially. Stalnaker said the audit report came back with an “unqualified opinion,” which is the highest rating possible.

An unqualified opinion means financial records have been maintained according to accepted accounting principles and financial records are free of misrepresentations.

The audit found no material weaknesses, no significant deficiencies and no noncompliance material in financial statements.

“Not many governments can say they didn’t have any findings in a given year,” Stalnaker said. “The audit is exceptional, I can tell you that. If you were scaling it on scale of one to 100 it would be 100-plus.”

Commissioner Tom McMichael put the results in some perspective from his personal experience.

“I’ve been looking at audits for over 50 years in my banking career and this is the cleanest audit I have ever seen,” he said.

Other highlights in the audit include a $2.7 million increase in the fund balance, a 3-percent increase in governmental assets and a 3.5-percent increase in business assets.

The county also spent $2.7 million less than budgeted due to vacancies in positions, staff turnover and savings generated by departments in managing their budgets.

“An awful lot of thanks goes to the employees, if not all of the thanks goes to the employees,” Stalnaker said. “Without them we would not have been able to have the audit that we had.”

The audit can be viewed at the county’s website, www.houstoncountyga.com.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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