CANTON — Cherokee County’s balances, other than its account for the local penny sales tax, ended the 2020 fiscal year higher than they were a year before, a recent audit shows.
According to an audit presented to the county board of commissioners Tuesday, Cherokee County saw revenues in its general fund of just over $109 million for fiscal year 2020, up from $97 million in fiscal year 2019. Meanwhile, expenditures were just over $93 million, up from $87 million the year before. The county’s fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
Despite transfers of roughly $7 million out of the general fund to other funds, such as senior services, the parks fund and EMS to help cover their operating expenses, the county’s general fund balance grew during fiscal year 2020 from $36.2 million to nearly $45.4 million. Similarly, the fire district fund saw an increase from $6.6 million to $10 million.
The only fund to see a decrease in its ending balance was the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax fund, which dropped from just under $57 million to $38.6 million. Auditor Tammy Galvis of Nichols, Cauley and Associates said the decrease could be attributed primarily to the jail expansion project.
Of the $225 million in total revenue across all funds the county received, a combined 68% of this revenue came from property taxes (47%) and sales taxes (21%). At the same time, the single biggest expense item was public safety, making up 40% of the county’s total expenditures, Galvis said.
Auditors told the commissioners Tuesday that the county’s fiscal year 2020 numbers were clean and without issues.
“We did issue a clean or unmodified opinion, so we’re pleased to report that to you today,” Galvis said. “We’re required to disclose to you if we had any significant adjustments during the audit, and there were none, so we’re pleased to report that as well.”
As a result of the clean audit, Galvis said she believed the county would once again receive a certificate of achievement from the Government Financial Officers Association.