Williamsburg County Supervisor Dr. Tiffany Wright was thrilled when an auditor announced the county had a Standard & Poor’s A- credit rating. “This is the first time in at least 10 years we’ve seen that,” she said after a September 15, Williamsburg County Council meeting. According to the county attorney, in 1990, the county had no rating. A county’s credit rating affects its ability to secure bonds at lower interest rates and selling bonds, among other things.

Robin Poston of Harper, Poston and Moree CPA presented the audit for fiscal year ending June 2019. The report is combined from old and new administration and will be Wright’s first audit under her direction.

Poston reported that the governmental wide financial statement shows increases of $839,000 in governmental activities (e.g., tax dollars) and $360,000 in business activities (Water/Sewer and Transit).

The largest liability concerns the amount due to the pension fund. Poston said no one is going to come after the $30 million as long as the county continues to pay the retirement contributions on the quarterly retirement report. Also, a liability totaling $24 million, of which makes up a large portion of the long-term debt payment on the water/sewer system of $32.7 million. The highlight of the report is the General Fund balance at that time was at 11% which means the county has a cushion to fund unforeseen events, such as a hurricane.

Another topic discussed was the current status on bank accounts. Past finance directors have encouraged departments to clean up the accounts, some of which have been addressed. However, Poston said they must have a handle on recording in a timely manner before additional revisions can take place.  She pointed to the turnover of finance directors over the past 10 years. “You’ve got to understand what you have, and have a handle of reporting it correctly before you make major changes,” said Poston. “You don’t want to add to your problems as you’re trying to fix the problems that are already there.”

Poston added that if the Treasurer’s office and the Supervisor’s office could get on the same general ledgers system, it would open an avenue to eliminate a lot of bank accounts. Wright said they have engaged advisors, been holding meetings with everyone and invited council to sit in the meetings.