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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

County Auditor Questioned about General Fund Again Tuesday Night

LAWRENCE COUNTY - SEPTEMBER 21, 2022 - Lawrence County Council member Mike Wright questioned Lawrence County Auditor again about the county's General Fund. Councilman Mike Wright was on vacation last week when discussion was held on the revenue and tax levies for Lawrence County.

Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs warns about overspending revenue shares

Earlier in the 2023 Budget cycle; Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs was concerned about the General Fund and tax levies of the county.

Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs told the Lawrence County Council members that the county has overspent estimated revenue shares since 2019.

According to Staggs the 2022 General Fund Adopted Budget was $16,100,294 and this year's proposed budget is $17,445,873. The General Fund Revenue estimates for 2023 is $16,778,171 leaving a deficit of $667,702.

If the proposed budget would remain for 2023, there is a total of $3,110,056 in the General Fund at the end of this year's budget cycle.

" As chief financial officer, I would recommend making cuts that will get you close or below your anticipated revenues for 2023. I would additionally like to add that these revenue figures are estimates, not exact figures. The total ending balance would reflect the county spending every dollar of the 2022 budget, as well as only accounting for 85 % of the expected property tax revenues based off the 2021 pay 2022 assessed values," said Staggs.

It is recommended the Lawrence County Council have a reserve of 15 percent of the total budget. If the Lawrence County Council take 15 percent of $17,445,873, the recommended ending balance would be at 18 percent.

In 2022, the county brought in a total of $36 Million in property tax revenue. The county was owed a total of $38 Million.

Previous budget years:

  • 2020 Actual - $14,504,436

  • 2021 Actual - $14,537,536

  • 2022 Actual - $16,100,294

  • 2023 Proposed budget - $17,412,000

Net assessed Values:

  • 2022 - $1.6 Billion

  • 2023 - $1.9 Billion

Staggs explained how the county went through $8 million in reserve revenue in 2019 in the General Fund down to $2.6 Million in 2022. The explanation from last night's meeting from Lawrence County Auditor Staggs is in the video below.

Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to monitor the 2023 budget process.

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