County commissioners received a positive report following an annual audit of the entity’s financial statements.

Peter Morgan, certified public accountant with George Morgan & Sneed, P.C., presented the independent auditor’s report to the county leaders Monday morning, and said an “unqualified opinion” was given after a review of the statements. The opinion conveys the auditor’s belief that the financial statements presented a fair and accurate statement of the county’s financial position.

Due in part to the auditor’s opinion of the county’s financial statements, Morgan’s report enabled county commissioners to accept the financial statement with the confidence that the audit was conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.

Following the presentation, county commissioners unanimously agreed to accept the annual financial report.

“Darrell (Morrison) and his staff do a great job,” Morgan said of the Somervell County auditor’s office. “We want to thank them for their efficiency and consideration in this process.”

The CPA highlighted several items from his report, saying the county’s total net assets had decreased by $2,381,730, reflecting the county’s investment in capital assets, including $834,546 to replace HVAC equipment at the hospital, the purchase of four new patrol cars for the sheriff’s department ($121,854), the purchase of a truck and communication equipment for the the fire department ($64,559), and a loader skid steer and communication equipment for the road and bridge department ($162,574).

Other governmental activities also contributed to the decrease of the county’s net assets by $1,754,472 compared to an $852,927 decrease the prior year.

“Total governmental activities revenues decreased $1,994 to $8,951,092,” the report says. “Total governmental activities expenses increased $569,036 from the prior year.”

Key elements Morgan cited from the report, included: Charges for services decreased $486,617 primarily due to public safety related revenues decreasing $449,273 due to the decrease in out-of-county prisoner revenues ($235,686) and commissary revenues ($52,246), because of the jail expansion in Johnson County was completed in the previous year. Forfeiture proceeds also decreased $105,900 following the Drug Task Force being disbanded.

Capital grants and contributions were also reported to have increased by $155,046. Somervell County received $134,546 in reimbursements for the replacement of HVAC equipment at the Glen Rose Medical Center, and the county also received two vehicles from the disbanded Drug Task Force.

Operating grants and contributions were found to have increased by 24 percent ($64,712).

Other activities cited in the report, included: Property tax revenue increased $101,536 (2 percent) because the assessed value of property increased $180,071,518. The property tax rate decreased 30.2 cents per $100 taxable value.

Public safety expenses increased $285,151 (10 percent) and sheriff’s department expenses rose $92,208, while fire department expenses increased $57,580 and EMS expenses were up $105,568.

The report also found judicial expenses increased 14 percent ($113,871), and justice of the peace expenses rose $20,887. In the prior year, the cost of voter tabulation for $90,390 was capitalized as fixed assets.

Health and welfare expenses decreased $107,185, while indigent health care costs decreased $46,127.

Transfers to the county golf course and Expo Center activities increased $330,565, or 37 percent, the audit states.

According to the audit report, at the close of the fiscal year, Somervell County’s governmental funds reported combined ending fund balances of $11,200,263, a decrease of $1,353,597, in comparison to the prior year. The report states “approximately 98 percent of this amount, $10,977,755, is available for spending at the county’s discretion (from the unreserved fund balance).”

Economic factors affecting next year’s budgets and rates were also presented by Morgan. “In the fiscal year 2008 budget, the county’s revenue is highlighted to increase $1.8 million from the FY 2007 budget. Assessed valuations increased 39.29 percent from the previous year. THe tax rate will decrease 2 cents per $100 value.”

According to the audit, the FY 2008 expenditures are budgeted to increase by approximately $5 million. The largest increase is $4.4 million for capital expenditures. Group medical premiums ($280,680), indigent health care ($161,140) and fire/EMS ($68,565) constitute the remainder of the largest decrease in expenditures.

The financial report, designed to provide a general overview of the county’s finances, is available for the public to view by contacting the county auditor, P.O. Box 804, Glen Rose, TX 76043.