by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

Steven Kirinovic, a CPA with Abraham & Gaffney, P.C., briefly reviewed the county’s 2015 financial audit during the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners’ Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday, June 15. In addition to giving the county’s record keeping a clean, unmodified opinion, Kirinovic also said the board has done a “good job regulating expenditures” and is “on the right track.”

Kirinovic reported that the county’s 2015 revenues were down 1 percent from 2014, though the board was able to cut expenditures by 13 percent, or approximately $2.1 million. And while auditors generally recommend municipalities to have a General Fund percentage in the 15 to 20 percent range, Kirinovic was encouraged by Shiawassee County’s 11 percent General Fund percentage, which is well above its low point in 2013, when the fund held only 5.5 percent of the county’s yearly expenditures.

Kirinovic and the board members were equally optimistic that the county is turning the corner financially, as the county’s 2015 budget surplus of nearly $800,000 indicates.

“In today’s economic climate, managing a budget surplus is great,” Kirinovic said. “Revenue is not going to change much year-to-year, so the only thing you can control is the expenditures, and you have done a great job with that.”

The board also approved one-time lump sum payments for all 207 county employees, 184 of which are full time and will receive $500 payments, with part time employees to receive $150 payments. All told, the one-time payments amount to $95,450 of the $798,842 budget surplus from 2015. The majority of the money will go towards the county’s unfunded pension liabilities, which total $25,869,000, with $159,768 designated for the county’s Rainy Day Fund, per the county’s Annual Surplus Policy the board passed in December.

Commissioner Hartmann Aue explained that the county’s employees deserved to be rewarded for “getting the county through its austere years.” He also noted that county employees have not received raises in more than eight years, and called the move a “sign of good faith” at a time when the county is “losing a lot of good people” to larger municipalities.

County Receives Clean, Unmodified Audit Opinion was last modified: June 20th, 2016 by Karen Elford