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At the request of the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners, Catoosa County Chief Financial Officer Carol Roberts worked with County Manager Alicia Vaughn and Commission Chairman Steven Henry to develop a fund reserve policy for the county that was approved by the board last month.

"Governmental financing rules state that governments should have guidelines for various financial decision-making tools, and certainly one of the most important is our fund reserves to serve as a rainy day fund of sorts," Roberts said.

The new policy states that the county will maintain a fund balance of between four and six months' of its operating expenses, with the exact level to be at the discretion of the commissioners.

Staff recommended keeping five months' of operating expenses in FY2021, which the commission approved.

At the close of the fiscal year every Sept. 30, the amount in the general fund reserve that exceeds the amount of the county's operating expenses for the number of months approved by commissioners will be moved to the capital projects reserve or another designated reserve, such as the health care fund reserve.

"We would still bring this forward to the commissioners for a budget amendment," Roberts said.

Once the fund balance policy was approved at the commission's Dec. 15 meeting, Roberts immediately put forth the first budget amendment for FY2021, to move the excess general fund balance of $3,280,145 to the capital fund reserve.

The transfer leaves the county with an unassigned general fund balance of $13,000,073.

Email Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com

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