MoCo Commission Signs USDA Grant
The Montgomery County Commission held a special called meeting Friday to sign and execute a grant and loan agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the purchase of a backup generator for the local Road Department and a rescue truck for the rural fire division of the Emergency Management Agency. Three commissioners, County Manager Brandon Braddy, and County Clerk Renee Cason took part in a video conference with USDA Rural Development Community Programs Specialist Karen Jameson and County Attorney Paul Cook to sign the formal documents that gives the county $36,900 for these purchases along with a loan for $68,500.
This agreement, which was unanimously agreed upon by Commissioner Chair Leland Adams, and Commissioners Chad Kenney and Tim Williamson, binds the County to a 2.5% interest rate for five years. The annual payment on the loan is $14,746.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Jameson encouraged the County leaders to continue to seek financial aid from the USDA. “I will be working with you all for the next 4 years. I can help a lot with getting grants for some of the projects so it won’t cost tax payers as much,” she explained. “Let’s get some money back in Montgomery County.”
McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Pat Muse also presented the findings from the county audit from the 2021 fiscal year during the called meeting.
According to Muse, the overall findings of the audit show financial growth in the County government over the last year, as the increase in the Cash and Cash Equivalents section of assets within the county totaled $5,969,532. This is a result of the funding received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The total assets within the county were found to be $17,292,514, $9,325,667 of which was from depreciable capital assets such as buildings and vehicles.
The areas that spent the most money within the County in 2021 was Public Safety, which accounted for $2,457,156 of expenditures, and Public Works, which spent $2,411,951. Revenues in the County also greatly increased, as a result in the increase of property and sales taxes. According to the audit, there was a total $561,627 change in net position within the County. Also, as a result of federal aid and funding received, several major funds emerged within the County finances, such as the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST), which was recently renewed by popular vote in the primary election, and the ARPA fund. The ARPA fund totaled $889,003 while TSPLOST’s 2021 balance was $432,450. Muse reported that the only issue that the audit discovered might become a problem is the lack of separation of duties within the county. “I am not very concerned about this issue, because I know it is from the small size of the County offices,” he explained.
He complimented the county government on its work to promote checks and balances in the County finance system, such as how the Commission Chair signs all checks rather than dividing the responsibility with the County Manager. Braddy ensured Muse that other measures were also in place to avoid any financial discrepancies.
“Overall, I believe the County is good financial standing and doing well,” Muse concluded.