Outside audit gives county government clean bill of health, shows a year’s worth of reserves

By Anton Riecher
Medina County ended the 2021-2022 fiscal year in September with equal to almost a full year of general fund expenditure held in reserve in its fund balance, the county’s official outside audit states.
Travis Rogers, certified public accountant for Pattillo Brown & Hill in Waco reported that the county is “well set up to deal with any change of circumstances that arise in the next year or two.”
The audit, presented to the Medina County Commissioners Court on April 6, shows that the county added about $1.6 million in fund balance to the general fund as the result of operations during FY 2021/2022, bringing the total fund balance to about $17.3 million, Rogers said.
“If you compare that to total expenditures for the year, even if you take out capital outlay or about $864,000, that’s still roughly about $20 million in the general fund for the year, which means in the ending fund balance you have close to a year’s worth of general fund expenditure,” Rogers said.
A general rule of thumb for local governmental entities such as counties, is to keep three to six months in reserve, he said.
“If you have nine or 10 months you’re in excellent health financially and in no danger of running out of money any time soon,” Rogers said.
As for the state of the county’s bookkeeping, Rogers said his company issued Medina County an “unmodified or clean opinion.”
“It’s the highest level of assurance we can provide meaning no issues or material departures were noted as part of our audit,” he said.
In other county financial news, the monthly treasurer’s report showed that the county ended February 2023 with a cash balance of $34.714 million, Total debt ending the same period totaled $25.025 million.
On a motion by Precinct 3 Commissioner David Lynch, seconded by Precinct 2 Commissioner Larry Sittre, the commissioners approved $2.071 million in accounts payable. The court also approved disbursement of funds since the last commissioners meeting totaling $10,780.
Commissioners approved a payroll for the period from March 18 to March 31 totaling $663,894 for its 326 employees.
The county auditor’s report showed a March beginning balance of $34.328 million and an April beginning balance of $34.880 million.
A line-item transfer of $1,959 was approved to allow Precinct 2 Constable Jim Przybylski to move funds from office supplies to auto maintenance to cover the removal of old graphics and installation of new replacement graphics on his vehicle.
The commissioners also approved the transfer of $150,000 among various funds used for emergency dispatching.
ESD No. 2
An annual financial report for the Medina County Emergency Services District No. 2 submitted to the county indicates that the district ended the 2021-2022 fiscal year with a budget deficit of $177,795.
“In the General Fund actual revenues received were less than anticipated by $15,665, expenditures more than anticipated by $162,130, resulting in a budget deficit of $177,795,” the outside audit states.
Total revenues budgeted were $432,200. However, the audit shows the actual revenues received totaled $416,535.
“In the Interest and Sinking Fund, actual revenues received were less than anticipated by $9,481, expenditures were less than anticipated by $227, resulting in a budget deficit of $9,205 for the year ending Sept. 30, 2022,” the audit states.
The court granted emergency management coordinator Mark Chapwick permission to train a volunteer intern.
“It’s an unpaid internship with no cost out-of-pocket for us,” Chapwick said. “The investment for us, of course, is an investment of time. What it does is take people and build them up in the skills to be able to do this kind of work.”
Chapwick, who joined the county staff last year, said he has conducted an internship program for the past 12 years with good results. One of his previous interns just took charge of emergency management for the community of Ruidoso, N.M.
“You can also use this as a platform for training some local volunteers to work specifically in emergency management,” Chapwick said. “It would be an augmentation for us.”
Under subdivision development, the commissioners gave final approval to vacate and replace a lot in the Mi Tierra Subdivision on County Road 340 in Precinct 1. The action followed a brief public hearing on the topic that drew no comment.
Precinct 1 Commissioners Timothy Neuman made the motion, seconded by Sittre.
In Precinct 3, the San Antonio Trust Subdivision located on FM 463 north of Natalia and Lytle received preliminary approval to vacate and replat one lot. Commissioner Lynch recommended the court withhold final approval until further discussion with the Texas Department of Transportation about subdivision entrances.
On a motion by Sittre, the commissioners approved Unit 16B and Unit 16A in the Hunters Ranch subdivision. On a motion by Neuman, seconded by Sittre, the commissioners voted to accept a construction bond for Valley Oaks subdivision, phase 2, located in Precinct 1.
Commissioners accepted a community-wide fair housing analysis regarding disability, race and ethnicity required by the Texas Department of Agriculture before the county can apply for grant funds. The court also approved a resolution authorizing application for the 2024 Indigent Defense Improvement Grant Program for the Hill Country Regional Public Defender’s Office.
Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Linette Dury petitioned the commissioners to approve a contract with the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department for residential services. Likewise, a similar interlocal agreement with the El Paso County Juvenile Board was approved.
On a motion by Neuman, seconded by Sittre, the court authorized application to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Police Service to participate in the COPS hiring program. Since 1994, COPS has provided $14 billion I assistance to state and local law enforcement agencies to help hire community policing officers.
Commissioners voted to extend the annual eDispatch system contract for the county. EDispatch automatically detects audio dispatches and delivers notifications directly member devices.
The county also approved extending an annual $3,000 lease by Keller Grain of county property in Precinct 2.
For complete video coverage of the commissioners court session visit the Devine News YouTube channel at youtu.be/Ps3a7rg52Yc.