MONROE — The trial between the Union County Board of Education and the Union County Board of Commissioners continued this week.
County Manager Cindy Coto was called to the witness stand on Monday. Coto was examined by School Board Attorney Richard Schwartz until Wednesday afternoon. County Commissioner Attorney Ligon Bundy was cross-examining Coto as of Thursday morning.
Numbers and budgets took center stage Wednesday as Schwartz asked Coto to use a calculator to figure out differences. The jurors each had large three ring binders to store the documents being put into evidence.
On Wednesday, Schwartz asked Coto about the county’s fund balance, particularly their unassigned fund balance, which has no strings attached.
Schwartz pointed out that for the past few budget cycles, the amount of revenue has been underestimated, leaving the county with a larger general fund than previously believed.
In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, Schwartz said, the estimated unassigned fund balance was about $44.2 million, while the amount on the audit was $51.2 million.
Schwartz asked Coto if that was a big difference. She agreed there was a difference and it was more than projected. Schwartz noted that the money was there and she said that may not be the case today.
The county commissioners determined that the unassigned fund balance should have 16 percent of the fund in it and state law requires 8 percent.
Schwartz said the final audit was about $7 million more than the estimated audit, which was initially thought to be too low, so had $6 million added.
For the 2011-2012 budget, about $10 million was appropriated from the general fund, but that money was not spent because more revenue came in than was anticipated. Schwartz noted that the county allocated about $11.5 million more to the fund balance that year.
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