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July 18, 2013
Auditors OK county’s financial plan

Tooele County’s financial recovery plan has received  a stamp of approval from an independent auditor.

“We have evaluated the [financial recovery] plan presented to us by the commission and believe it is viable,” said Randy Jensen, audit partner with Haynie and Company, a Salt Lake-based certified public accountant and management consulting firm.

Haynie and Company was hired by Tooele County to perform the state required audit of the county’s 2012 financial records. As part of the audit process they reviewed the county’s financial recovery plan.

“We are aware of the concerns about the county’s financial condition and the tightness of the budget,” Jensen said. “As part of issuing a clean audit, we reviewed the plan and believe that the plan will accomplish the commission’s designs.”

Jensen mentioned that many elements of the plan have already been implemented. They include the reduction of the county’s workforce by 100 employees and a general fund expenditure reduction of 25 percent over the last year. He noted that the plan included a yet to be adopted tax increase that will yield an additional $2.6 million in general fund revenue.

“The county has formed a budget committee that in our observation is really operating,” said Jensen.

The budget committee includes the county commissioners, the county attorney, auditor and treasurer.

Jensen expressed confidence in the budget committee’s expectations that the funds used to cover the deficit of Deseret Peak should be repaid in three to five years based on the committee’s assumptions that general fund revenue remain constant, an annual increase of 5 percent in costs, and the anticipated 2013 tax increase.

“The commission made the tough decisions and they are not easy decisions to make,” he said. “We expect the committee will keep the public informed on the plan.”

The financial recovery plan was first introduced to the public in May. Its steps to return the county’s budget to fiscal stability have been explained at recent town hall meetings on a proposed tax increase.

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