Dare County audit is good, finances strong

Published 6:50 pm Sunday, January 9, 2022

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On Jan. 3, 2022, Dare County Board of Commissioners received an unmodified audit opinion for the county’s June 30, 2021 audit.

Bob Taylor, audit partner with the county’s audit firm, Potter & Company, told the commissioners that the four required opinion letters were clean with no exceptions.

The auditor is required to provide an opinion on the county’s financial statement and single audit opinions on internal control and compliance with federal and state programs.

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Finance director Dave Clawson told the commissioners that the last grant funding finding was in 1996. He saluted the county’s Division of Social Services for its accounting work.

For 2021, the auditor looked at the federal Medicaid and CARES funding and the state’s Medicaid program, Recovery and Resiliency Grant, the Manteo Channel Dredging project, and the Connect NC Bond Program used for College of The Albemarle construction project. The auditor submitted no finding and no questioned costs in these audits.

The 2021 audit, formally titled Annual Comprehensive Financial Report, has received the Certificate of Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association. This is the 30th consecutive year for the award.

At June 30, 2021, the total consolidated fund balance was $72.35 million. Subtracting reserves required by the state at $18.9 million, capital and debt service at $12.44 million, the 21% fund balance policy at $24.41 million, appropriated fund balance of $2.74 million plus six other accounts yields a fund balance of $9,960,192 available for use. About $1 million has recently been allocated.

In 2021, six revenue sources showed major increases. Three sales taxes increased: local sales tax by 30.39% (Article 39), the state sales tax by 16.32% (Article 40), the sales tax distributed by population 31.55% (Article 42). Dare’s occupancy tax revenue increased by 50.27%, the land transfer tax receipts by 126.41% and the Register of Deeds revenue by 111.37%.

The county’s insurance fund shows an ending fund balance of $4.24 million. For the health plan, benefit payments went down 14.81% and net benefit costs after stop-loss is applied were down 4.83%. Clawson reported that this has never happened before.

Board Chairman Robert L. Woodard attributed reduction to the county’s wellness program.

Dare County’s water system fund had a “very, very good year,” said Clawson. The system, operated as an enterprise account, installed 587 new connections, the highest ever.

The Beach Nourishment Fund has a balance of $33.07 million, about $6 million more than modeling projected. The Inlet Maintenance Fund shows a $15.53 million balance, which is state funding for the dredge under construction.

The Annual Comprehensive Financial Report is posted online at darenc.com, under Finance.