County finances remained strong in 2015, audit shows

Published 8:00 am Thursday, March 24, 2016

In spite of the challenges still facing the county, Cass County finances still appear to be in order, according to the results of the annual audit released Tuesday.

Alan Panter, an accountant with East Lansing’s Abraham & Gaffney, delivered the results of their recent audit of the county’s finances through 2015 to the members of the Cass County Board of Commissioners during a special meeting Tuesday evening in Cassopolis. According to the report, the county remained in the black, with an increase of around $564,000 to the general fund balance.

Revenues amounted to $15.17 million last year, up about 1.8 percent from 2014, Panter said. A vast majority of the revenue that came into the county was from property taxes, accounting for $9.23 million, or 60 percent of total revenue.

The accountant attributes the bump in income due to increased taxable value on homes, resulting in about $556,000 in additional venue compared to last. This gain was offset in a decline in charges for services, about $270,000, due to the fact a pipeline security contract through the sheriff’s office ended last year, Panter said.

Expenditures, by comparison, amounted to $14.05 million, down about 4.8 percent from numbers in 2014. Most of the spending in 2015, as per usual, went toward paying for general government operations as well as public safety, taking up 53 and 32 percent of spending respectively, Panter said.

Last year marked the fourth time in five years that the general fund balance increased over the prior year, Panter said.