County surplus nearly $25 million -- Gazette.Net


St. Mary’s County government’s finances last year were in tip-top shape, auditors said Tuesday, leaving a fund balance of $24.9 million.

In the county’s audit, most of the current $24.9 million fund balance from fiscal 2012 is leftover surpluses from the last four years, totaling $19.6 million.

The auditor’s draft report from Murphy and Murphy stated, “There remains uncertainty with respect to the federal budget situation, with the possibility that sequestration may disproportionately affect St. Mary’s County given the federal presence in the county. The county deems it prudent to stay the course with respect to basic government services, while maintaining reserves adequate to cushion against charge over which it has little influence.”

Elaine Kramer, chief financial officer for county government, told the commissioners this week, “We do have some fund balance. It allows us to buy some time. If we do have a shortfall, we can cover.”

From combined accounts, there is $8 million of that surplus available for use in the operating budget.

The county has already set aside $7.5 million in the event that a public infrastructure project is needed to shore up support for Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

During the last four years, St. Mary’s County government has paid $18 million into a trust fund for retiree benefits, the auditing firm said.

Tim Murphy of Murphy and Murphy told the commissioners that usually in an audit, adjustments are recommended. In the case of the fiscal 2012 budget, zero adjustments were proposed.

“To hear no adjustments, you don’t do that very often in life,” Morgan said.