West Pelzer fund balance increases, town gets clean audit

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By Stan Welch

The West Pelzer Town Council received a clean audit for its finances during fiscal year 2011-2012. Jason White, representing the Town’s auditors, Bryerly, Payne, & White, told the Council that the Town had received an unqualified opinion, or the best report possible within the scope of the audit.

The Town currently has a $235,000 fund balance in the general fund, and saw an increase of five per cent, or $240,000 in the fund balance on the utility side. White also reassured the Council that the utility funds are sufficient to make the required payments on the utility bonds the town is obligated for. “The bank will be very pleased to see that,” said White.

White, at the urging of Mayor Paxton, pointed out some issues with the overall accounting of the Town. For example, some fairly significant, or material, adjustments had to be made between various line items in order to come into compliance with the budget.

White explained that the preferred accounting method is not the best for smaller municipalities to use as they work through the various budget decisions they face during the year. “The GAAP system, or Generally Accepted Accounting Practices, is not designed for the kind of flexibility that many small towns need to make the best decisions,” said White. “The result is that almost every municipality has to make such adjustments at the end of the year. It’s just a fact of life.”

In other business, Mayor Paxton also reported that there have been a number of break-ins at the sewer plant, with significant thefts of Town equipment, such as mowers, over the last few months. “I would call it almost constant over the last few months. We need to do something about it.”

Police Chief Mike Clardy advised the Council that arrangements are being made to increase surveillance at the site, and reminded them that the Town’s trucks are being left at the Town Hall, so that they can be watched more closely.

Councilman Robert Alexander again complained that the trucks, and especially the newest one, are not being maintained properly. “I asked about them washing that truck two months ago and it is still filthy. The cab is full of trash and the bed is so full of junk, the gas mileage would go up two miles an hour if we emptied it.”