HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The return of Towns County’s 2018 financial audit proved positive, and Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw said that he is “proud” of the clean findings. The first-term commissioner believes Towns County to be in the top 25 Georgia counties- out of a total of 159 – in such solid economic shape. Commissioner Bradshaw averred to continue utilizing conservative fiscal policies and seek improvements to maintain the financial health of the county in order to increase its financial position.
Towns County’s assets exceeded its liabilities at the close of the 2018 fiscal year by a net position of $24,322,687. Of this amount, $4,641,111 represents an unrestricted net position which may be used to meet the government’s ongoing obligations. Towns County’s audit revealed a total net position decrease of $44,285, which was less that one percent of total net assests. The decrease occurred primarily due to depreciation and the end of the SPLOST referendum which provided significant tax revenues in prior years.
In addition, Towns County began evaluating areas that could improve during the 2017 fiscal year, and implemented various changes in 2018. The changes resulted in a general revenue increase of nearly $600,000. In 2018, the county was able to obtain higher interest rates for certificate of deposits which provided the county with $46,457 of interest income, a 35 percent increase from the previous year.
Commissioner Bradshaw credited the strong economy, fueled by local tourism, along with the dedication of county employees for the positive review. According to available statistics from the Towns County Chamber of Commerce, direct tourism spending increased by nearly $3 million dollars between 2016 and 2017. Data revealed that $51.71 million dollars were the result of area tourism in 2017, relieving individual taxpayers of an annual average of $840.