Friday, March 14, 2014

County financials get thumbs-up

Auditor says he is impressed with bookkeeping, money management


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

    An outside auditor has given Blaine County’s financial statements a clean bill of health.
    “I’m very impressed with Blaine County,” said Curtis Stocker, a partner with Rupert, Idaho-based accounting firm Condie Stocker & Associates, during a county commissioners meeting Tuesday. “I think you’ve done very well in keeping the financial position of Blaine County very secure.”
    The annual audit is required by state law.


I think you’ve done very well in keeping the financial position of Blaine County very secure.”
Curtis Stocker
Auditor




    In an interview, county Treasurer Vicki Heuett said the main practical use of the 81-page audit is to support the county’s credit rating for bond investors. In 2007, Moody’s rated two bond issues to fund a new county Sheriff’s Office and jail as Aaa and Aa2, considered “prime” and “high grade” ratings.
    Stocker made several suggestions for minor improvements in the county’s financial reporting:
- Better organization of files for federal and state grants.
- Weekly rather than every-two-weeks deposits for Probation Department funds.
- An update of the county’s investment policy to specify the types of investments allowed.
    Commissioner Larry Schoen said he preferred to leave Heuett leeway to choose the investments she thinks are best.
    “We’ve tried to stay out of micro-managing,” he said. “I think that if we had a new treasurer, someone without her decades of experience, we might want to revisit that.”
    Commissioner Jacob Greenberg joked that if Stocker hadn’t come up with some ideas for improvements, he wouldn’t have been doing his job.
Greg Moore: gmoore@mtexpress.com




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