Piscataquis, UT show $1 million fund balances

Posted Feb. 09, 2011, at 7:50 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Audits for both Piscataquis County and the Unorganized Territory show that each has a $1 million fund balance, some of which is earmarked for capital projects.

Dan Parks of the accounting firm Brantner Thibodeau of Bangor met with the Piscataquis County commissioners Tuesday to review the audits for the UT for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010, and for Piscataquis County for the year ending Dec. 31, 2009.

Parks said the fund balance for the UT was just shy of $1.3 million, half of which is surplus and the rest designated for capital projects.

“That’s a significant amount of liquidity,” Parks said.

Since the audit, the UT surplus account has been reduced by $265,000 to help offset the 2012 tax commitment.

Ending the year with such a healthy fund balance prompted Commissioner Fred Trask to ask how the UT was acquiring so much wealth. He pointed out that the UT in 2007 had a $475,000 fund balance, which grew to $1.3 million in 2010.

Administration, dumps, fire protection and winter maintenance were $20,000 or more under budget in each of the past two fiscal years, Parks explained. Fully one-third of the surplus was added this year, he added. About $600,000 of the fund balance is earmarked for capital projects.

“I think that shows our tighter management of the UT budget,” Commissioner Tom Lizotte said Tuesday. He said that when County Manager Marilyn Tourtelotte was hired, the county changed how it did business to reduce road maintenance costs and solid waste disposal costs.

In addition, the county hired a UT road consultant for $15,000 a year, and that allowed greater savings, according to Lizotte. He said the summer road budget for the coming year is $198,000 compared to $320,000 in 2010.

“It’s been a substantial savings, and we’ve been able to put money aside for paving and bridges that we couldn’t put aside before,” Tourtelotte said Tuesday.

Regarding the county audit, Parks said the county ended 2009 with a fund balance of $1.1 million, of which $95,755 is earmarked for special projects. He said 2009 was the year the jail balances were removed from the budget to conform with state law, but even with that change, the county ended the year with a “fair amount of liquidity.”

“It’s probably more in line where it should be,” Parks said of the surplus. He said there was no area where the county was underbudgeted.

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