Restricted funds for the county will stay in the same account with general funds after a workshop Tuesday on the restructuring of restricted funds. Three members of the Commissioners Court met with County Auditor Pennee Schmitt, County Treasurer Christy Khoury, and Assistant County Attorney Denise Gremillion to discuss options for securing restricted funds from being used inappropriately.
One topic for discussion was creating separate bank accounts for restricted funds. That process was deemed to take more paperwork and additional fees than was warranted. County Judge Dean Crooks supplied the consensus of the Commissioners with the auditor and treasurer that a floor would be established and the Commissioners Court would not allow the general fund balance to dip below that level. “The people need to know where their money is and what it is being used for, and I think today we kind of worked out a system with the auditor and the treasurer to make sure that happens,” Crooks informed.
The county’s fund balance is currently $8.8 million. The floor or minimum fund balance was agreed to be $4.5 million when the Commissioners Court would need to consider seeking a line of credit or a loan to cover county expenses until revenues begin to increase at the beginning of January with citizens paying their property taxes.
Treasurer Khoury indicated it would take three to four weeks to get a line of credit for the county. She would prefer five to six weeks for handling the process if necessary. All parties said they would monitor the fund balance closely in the next two and a half months to determine if Orange County will need to seek a loan to cover expenses.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-