BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C.–The fiscal year 2016 financial audit for Berkeley County showed continued improvement from the 2015 and 2014 reports. The County’s received an “Unmodified Opinion” from its outside auditors, Scott and Company.
This represents the best possible opinion it can receive. The report reflects Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler’s first full fiscal year in office, from July 2015 to June 2016. It also showed the county kept administrative costs at a minimum and invested money where it was needed most.
The report showed the strongest fund balance position, or financial savings, in Berkeley County’s history. For the third consecutive year, the county’s fund balance has increased. In 2016, the unrestricted fund balance increased by an impressive 37% from $14.8 million in 2015 to $20.1 million.
The report also showed continued growth and improvement in Berkeley County Water & Sanitation finances, powered by the County’s strong new customer growth and holding the line on expenditures. The Water and Sewer fund saw financial savings for the 2016 fiscal year grow by $3 million to an unrestricted fund balance of $31.4 million.
The Solid Waste fund saw continued improvement, cutting the deficit by more than 50% from 2015. The deficit for the Solid Waste fund was $1.1 million for 2016, a big improvement from 2015’s $2.2 million and 2014’s $7.2 million. With operational changes in place and increases revenues expected, it is anticipated that 2017 will be the first year that fund will see a positive increase since 2013.
Finally, 2016’s budget showed the County’s renewed financial commitment to public safety. By holding down expenditures in administrative departments, the County was able to increase funding to the Berkeley County Sherriff’s Office by 15%. This amounts to a $2.5 million increase in funding over the previous year. In addition, the County also funded the replacement of 25% of the Sherriff’s Department’s deteriorating fleet of Deputy vehicles.
“Our goal has been to streamline government and invest in public safety,” said Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler. “It’s the job of the Supervisor to recommend a budget, the job of Council to review and enact the budget, and the job of employees to make the budget the happen. Through the hard work of our dedicated County employees, we not only kept our promises, we exceeded them.”