Supervisor: County does not have $8 million deficit

Charles Warner Editor

December 4, 2013

UNION COUNTY — Supervisor Tommy Sinclair says that a misplaced number is responsible for a news report that the county overspent its budget by more than $8 million in fiscal 2012-2013.

In an interview with The Union Daily Times Tuesday afternoon, Sinclair addressed a report last week by Channel 7’s Gordon Dill that the county had overspent its budget by a little more than $8.2 million. Sinclair said that Dill’s report was based on information provided by the State Budget and Control Board website which shows Union County with expenditures totaling $25,218,320 in fiscal 2012-2013 but revenues of only $16,997,336, leaving a deficit of $8,220,984.

Sinclair said he didn’t learn about Dill’s report until Saturday while at the Carolina-Clemson game. He said when he got back to his office on Monday he learned that Dill had called his office Wednesday afternoon for a comment. Sinclair said the secretary Dill spoke with told him that he’d already left for the day. He said he’d left to begin spending the Thanksgiving holiday with his family.

After returning to his office, Sinclair said he contacted Dill who provided him with a link to the information he’d based his report on. Sinclair said he began to look into the information, which is part of the State Budget and Control Board’s report on municipal, county, and school district revenues and expenditures. He said he also contacted the outside firm that audits the county’s books every year and went over the report with them.

Sinclair said that after reviewing the information, he and the auditors determined that the expenditures and deficit contained in the report were the result of a misplaced number in the “Land Purchase & Facility Construction” line item in the expenditures section. He said that the report states that the county spent $7,094,939 on land purchases and the construction of facilities in fiscal 2012-2013 when in fact it spent only $709,939.

The information is provided by the auditing firm on behalf of the county using a form provided by the State Budget and Control Board. Sinclair said that in his discussions with them he was told by the auditing firm that it appeared that they had added the extra number by mistake while filling out the form.

Instead of being in deficit, Sinclair said that the county actually ended fiscal 2012-2013 with a surplus of $466,000.

When reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, Dill said he’d spoken with Sinclair about the matter and will report his position on it.

“I’ve talked to the county supervisor and we wanted to give him air time to explain his position,” Dill said. “We’re going to report tonight what he says about the extra digit.”

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.