MONCKS CORNER — Berkeley County Council received a clean audit report Monday. Larry Finney, a CPA with Greene, Finney & Horton, told the County Council that it received an unqualified opinion, the highest rating possible.
"In layman's terms, that's as good as it gets," he said.
The county's revenues increased 6 percent to $47.8 million, while expenditures increased 13 percent to $49 million.
One reason expenditures were higher than revenue is that the county absorbed a $3.5 million debt Cypress Gardens owed the general fund, Finney said. The park didn't have the ability to pay it back on its own, and officials worried the debt could negatively affect the county's bond rating.
The transfer ate into the county's unreserved surplus, which ended the year at about $3.5 million, approximately 7.1 percent of the total budget.
Finney reminded council members that they passed a resolution in April 2007 to try to maintain an unreserved surplus of 15 percent. On the other hand, absorbing the debt gave the county a truer picture of its finances.
The county's Water and Sanitation Authority saw its revenues increase $7 million to $36 million. Its expenses increased about 20 percent to $22.8 million.
Finney said the county's water and sewer fund increased $3.4 million to $12.2 million over last year because of an increase in development.
The council also was told that it does not have a fraud risk management program in place.
If the problem is not fixed, current informal policies might result in areas being overlooked and not assessed properly, according to the audit. Finney said the county has the controls in place but not in writing.