Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller Sharon R. Bock recently presented her annual “State of the County” financial report to the Board of County Commissioners, offering a series of recommendations to help protect the public’s investment in the commission’s top priorities.
As the county begins its budget process for the next fiscal year, Bock recommended that the county continue to review and enhance its current financial policies to ensure that they meet the highest standards for government accounting. The clerk also recommended the commissioners formally adopt financial policies regarding the county’s outstanding debt, fund balance and reserves to be consistent with the best practices offered by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), the leading organization for government finance professionals.
“Over the past four years, we have experienced a thriving economy, where the county’s revenues have exceeded its budget needs,” Bock said. “Although the county’s priorities are safely funded now, continued proactive planning and ongoing policy enhancements will help protect the public’s investment in the future.”
Palm Beach County’s governmental revenue reached an all-time high in Fiscal Year 2018, increasing by more than 6 percent, or $121 million, when compared to the previous fiscal year. The increase was driven largely by a rise in property, sales and tourist development tax collections, all of which reached record levels.
Among the Bock’s key findings in this year’s “State of the County” review:
• The county’s total fund balance, a key indicator of a government’s financial health, grew by $134.7 million in FY 2018.
• Total county debt in FY 2018 decreased by 7 percent.
• Revenue from the one-cent sales tax approved by voters in November 2016 continued to outpace projections. The county collected more than $84 million in FY 2018, exceeding its budget projection of $71 million.
The county has prioritized funding to address several key needs, including homelessness and the opioid epidemic. A cooling housing market, however, could affect the county’s ability to meet those priorities.
“We know there will be the need for new roads, parks and other improvements in the near future,” said Shannon R. Chessman, Bock’s chief operating officer. “By continuing to refine and enhance its financial policies, the county can ensure there is a framework to help fund these priorities in the future.”
This is the 14th year that Bock has presented a “State of the County” report, which is based on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) produced by her office each year.
The CAFR, and other financial reports, can be found on the County Financial Reports section of www.mypalmbeachclerk.com.