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More income, less out-go results in good news

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Editorial: Feb. 1, 2011

The issue: County's mid-year budget surplus
Our view: Heathly report worthy of praise

Were you to ask any number of business operators what it takes to make a profit in their segment of the market, you’d likely receive a variety of answers. Some might respond that their profitability is driven only by the fact that they offer unique products and services unavailable from other competitors. Some whose offerings are the same as those from alternative sources might suggest that their customer service must be superior compared to their competitors for income to be achieved. Still others might point out that they serve cost-conscious consumers and their business profitability is dependent upon having the lowest prices in town.

While these likely responses and any others you might receive are arguably valid depending upon the nature of the business and the consumer market it serves, one universal answer would be correct across all segments. Profitability is dependent upon the right balance of incoming revenues and outgoing expenses.

When a business’ total operating revenues exceed its total operating costs, a profit will always be achieved. Failure to strike and maintain this balance in an ongoing manner always will result in a financial loss.

Although Hardin County government isn’t a commerce-oriented enterprise, it’s a good thing that it is managed as such. Proof of the level of fiscal responsibility pursued in county government is Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry’s recent report on the county’s mid-year budget performance.

Recapping county finances for the six-month period ending Dec. 31, 2010, during a recent meeting of Hardin Fiscal Court, Judge-Executive Berry reported the county carries a $3.4 million surplus  into the second half of the current fiscal year.

The county has held its operating costs to $13 million during the period while collecting $16.4 million in revenues. This is good news for the county. What makes it even greater is that the fiscal year mid-point balance reflects a nearly $1 million improvement in income compared to the same six-month period in the 2009-10 budget.  County revenue has increased almost $587,000 compared to the prior fiscal year period while total expenditures decreased $361,000.

Berry, Fiscal Court commissioners in office during the period and county government department heads and their collective staff deserve recognition for the effective management of public funds thus far in the county’s budget.

Compared to the state’s budget shortfall and staggering financial challenges, as well as the same within counties that surround us on all corners, we’re thankful that we live in a community that has been insulated to a great degree from the impact of an uncertain economy.

The presence of effective financial managers in place at each level of elected, appointed and employed public service results in good stewardship of the public’s trust and finances. Their collective strong expense control, combined with increased revenues coming into the county’s coffers has resulted in the county’s healthy mid-year financial performance.

Maintaining this same balance in a sustained way through the second half of the fiscal year should enable the county to end the period in a healthy financial position, eliminating the need to dip into reserves to balance the budget.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.