The town of Gibson has received a clean bill of financial health from a Lumberton auditing firm.
John Masters of S. Preston Douglas and Associates briefed the Gibson commissioners this week on the firm’s audit of the town.
“You did get an unqualified audit opinion, which is the best you can get,” Masters said. “You had no scope restrictions; we had great cooperation from [town clerk] Myra [Tyndall].”
The audit report was submitted last week to the N.C. Local Government Commission and is currently pending approval.
The town has $178,900 in fund balance, in excess of the minimum required by the Local Government Commission.
“As you well know, the Local Government Commission really scopes this number out,” said Masters. “They like to see a minimum of eight percent of your general fund expenditures, which represents one month of cash on hand they like to see so you can meet immediate expenses. The town of Gibson is lucky in that you have approximately five months, or five times the minimum amount required by the Local Government Commission.”
Masters said that, for a small town such as Gibson, maintaining a healthy fund balance is crucial in the event of an unexpected drain on resources.
“You can see the level of cash that the town of Gibson has on hand is about as high as it’s ever been,” he said. “You all are to be commended for making the decisions necessary to increase cash. In these small towns, it doesn’t take much for cash to be depleted real fast. You can just imagine what a town this size would encounter if it had to come up with some cash real fast.”
In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the town collected about $105,00 in property taxes, just under $30,000 in garbage collected revenue, and $120,000 in water and sewer revenue.
“Your property tax collection rate for the current year’s levy is 88.19 percent,” said Masters. “The local government commission says it should be 95 percent, but for economically depressed areas like Scotland County and Robeson County, that’s a pretty good collection rate.”
Gibson’s public infrastructure and town-owned equipment are valued at $1.3 million, a number that is steadily decreasing due to depreciation of capital. The town is also virtually free of debt.
“You have no structured debt, and that’s pretty rare,” Masters said. “Usually there’s a capital lease hanging out there or some sort of general obligation, but the town of Gibson has none.”
In other business, the new president of the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, Tonia Stephenson, was introduced to the commissioners.
“I want to make sure that you know that we are the Laurinburg-Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, so we are your Chamber of Commerce and we want to serve the whole county,” said Stephenson. “I welcome you anytime that you have issues or concerns that we can help you with.”