EDC receives ‘clean’ audit report
The Barnwell County Economic Development Corporation and Commission received a “clean opinion” of its finances following an annual audit for fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.
The annual audit was presented to the EDC on Oct. 30 by Lorie Salley of the accounting firm McGregor & Company.
Salley noted that the net position of the Corporation is down $566,446 from the previous year but $382,040 of that is depreciation of the EDC’s property.
The corporation’s net position in 2017 was $10,298,000 compared to $10,854,000 in 2016.
The audit also shows a transfer of $520,000 to Barnwell County to be held by the county treasurer for the EDC. Within the last year the Barnwell County Council passed an ordinance to transfer the money held by all county entities to the treasurer but earmarked for those entities.
Revenues for the year included $29,162 from lease payments.
The corporation also sold 1.5 acres of land to a new business with proceeds of $9,713.
The report also included a required statement of deficiencies and weaknesses. Salley said those noted in the audit “are nothing out of the ordinary for a small governmental entity”. The report also noted the “financial statement disclosures are neutral, consistent and clear.”
Commissioner Keith Sloan asked, “Would you agree that for a small staff that our management controls were adequate?”
“Yes,” said Salley. “With the county gaining control, it added a control.”
Sloan moved to approve the audit which was approved unanimously by the commission.
The commissioners, who oversee both the corporation and commission, moved to formally end the corporation meeting and then open the commission meeting.
At the beginning of the corporation meeting the commissioners welcomed the newest member, Brett Bell. Commissioners attending included Steve Jowers, Keith Sloan, Patrick Richardson, Toby Singletary and Will Kearse. Commissioner Joe Smith was not at the meeting.
Also attending were Barnwell County Councilmen Don Harper and Jerry Creech.
Tommy Boyleston, who has served as the EDC’s executive director as a county employee until last month, now works for Southern Carolina Alliance (SCA) but his job duties related to the Barnwell County commission are effectively the same as before. The change came after the Barnwell County Council approved a contract with SCA to handle its economic development efforts, eliminating the county-paid position. Subsequently, Boyleston was hired by SCA .
Boyleston’s report of his activities during October included a list of economic development-related workshops, meetings with local mayors, attending events and visiting local companies.
He said construction going on at Swiss Krono is on schedule. “It is huge and amazing,” said Boyleston. “Most people in Barnwell County don’t realize what is going on. This is a huge investment.”
He said the expansion “is more like a whole new plant” being added, giving the company the ability to produce high density fiberboard instead of purchasing the material from elsewhere.
He said the newly-announced Augusta Fiberglass expansion in Blackville “is a good step forward” and includes a 625,000-square-foot facility and 12 new employees.
Boyleston reported that Dayco in Williston “has shown some growth this year”, particularly following the closure of its Colleton County facility.
Commissioner Sloan asked about the former Allied Air facility in Blackville which is tied up with federal tax problems. “It stands with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service),” responded Boyleston. “We have been trying to negotiate with the IRS to take a lesser amount of money. It is going nowhere.”
He said he would discuss a plan with the commissioners in closed session. “We haven’t given up on it,” said Boyleston.
Having no new business on the agenda, the EDC moved to go into closed session where they met for approximately 40 minutes to discuss project updates which are confidential in nature.
Following the closed session they reported no action was taken and took no votes before adjourning the meeting.