County finances dire, treasurer seeks guidance

Patrick County Treasurer Sandra Stone raised the alarm about the county’s financial state at a recent meeting of the Patrick County Board of Supervisors.

She reiterated concerns she had raised in the past, and also cited an April 26 letter emailed to each of the board members.

“I am writing this letter once again to make the board aware of our county’s current financial condition,” Stone said in the letter. “I hope this letter helps each board member realize just how dire of a situation the county is currently in.”

After deducting monies from the contingency fund – a rainy day savings account of sorts – to meet payroll and outstanding bills in both March and April, Stone said the fund balance was little more than $1.3 million.

The county’s obligation to the school division for the current fiscal year stands at more than $2.1 million, which Stone said will be transferred to the division by the end of June.

Although real estate tax bills were mailed on April 28, “the biggest part of that revenue will not come in until the end of May and first of June,” she said.

Because fiscal years run July 1 through June 30, Stone said her concern is revenue earmarked for the upcoming fiscal year will be tapped to meet the county’s obligation to the school for the current fiscal year.

If that happens, “we start out with a shortfall” when the new fiscal year begins on July 1, Stone said.

“Depleting our Contingency Fund puts us in a really tight spot if we should fall short of meeting the payroll/bills in the future,” Stone said.

“Funds are currently so tight that if anything went wrong, we would not have the funds available to meet” county and school payroll and pay the county’s other bills, Stone said.

Additionally, “what am I supposed to do in low revenue months,” Stone asked. “I can’t pull something we don’t have. Something’s got to be in place. I don’t know what that is. The ball’s in your court. Once it (contingency fund) is depleted, I have no place to take it from.”

Karl Weiss, of the Blue Ridge District, asked Stone if the figures she presented included funds that were allocated to various departments/agencies in the current fiscal year but remained unspent.

Stone said Tuesday the figures do include those funds.

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