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Llano County gets clean bill of financial health in annual audit

Preston Singleton of Singleton, Clark & Company

Preston Singleton of Singleton, Clark & Company gives a presentation on Llano County’s 2022 financial audit, which showed the county to be in strong financial health. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Llano County was given a favorable assessment of its financial health during a review of its 2022 audit at the Commissioners Court’s meeting on Monday, March 13. The county came in under budget for 2022, added to its financial reserves, and made slightly more revenue than was expected.

Annual county audits by independent and certified firms are required by state law to ensure financial transparency. Llano County’s audit was conducted by Singleton, Clark & Company. Managing partner Preston Singleton led Monday’s presentation.

“Fund balance is the best measurement of the financial health of a governmental entity,” Singleton told the court. 

He pointed to the county’s 2022 general fund, which stood at about $14.9 million in revenues. The county budgeted for about $14.7 million, so slightly more was brought in than was expected. The county’s total expenditures came out to $13.3 million, which is significantly lower than the county’s original estimate of $15.1 million. 

The surplus in revenue and the low spending led to about $1.6 million being added to the county’s financial reserves, now at about $9.3 million.

“Just to size that up, that number for Llano County represents just over eight months of reserves for the general fund,” Singleton explained. “That’s actually a very strong fund balance for a governmental entity the size of Llano County.”

This means the county has roughly eight months’ worth of savings for unforeseen projects, emergencies, or disasters.

“Overall, it’s a great audit,” Singleton said. “I just want to thank all the departments that helped get the audit done this year and completed on time.”

Commissioner Peter Jones explained it can be difficult to predict the county’s expenditures and revenues for the coming year, accounting for the difference between the estimated and actual numbers.

“In budgeting, many items are unknown and unexpected, we can look at trends, but we never really know,” he said. “That puts us in a very strong position for Llano County going into this fiscal year. These reserves give us a cushion for any disasters that may come.”

Both Singleton and Jones commended Llano County’s department heads for managing their budgets well and contributing to the county’s strong financial position.