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Auditor: Dougherty finances in good shape

ALBANY -- The county's auditor gave a glowing review of the County Commission's books Monday, showing government leaders that they were able to come $1.3 million under budget in FY09.

Commissioner Lamar Hudgins, who is also the county's finance committee chairman, commended the cost-cutting practices first implemented by County Administrator Richard Crowdis.

"Things appeared to be better than we expected," Hudgins said after Monday's meeting. "A lot of people did some hard work trimming their budgets and it's because of them that we didn't have to take out as much as we thought from the reserve fund."

For FY 2009, which ended June 30, 2009, the county had budgeted to pull $3.9 million from its reserve fund to balance its budget. But by the end of the fiscal year, the county had only used $2.6 million from the reserve fund.

Despite some indicators that the economy may slowly be improving, Hudgins said that he's had discussions with Crowdis and that the spending controls initiated last year could remain intact.

"We get about half our money from property taxes," Hudgins said. "So really about the only way to raise revenue is to raise the millage or cut spending and I believe that we should continue to try and cut spending as much as possible so we don't have to raise taxes."

The audit showed no abnormalities in the county's bookkeeping, auditor Meredith Lipson said.