Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Orange Grove Journal

Jim Wells County Commissioners once again received a positive result from a comprehensive annual financial report for the 2006 fiscal year.

For nearly 10 years, the county has received a certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada.

The achievement is a national award, recognizing the highest standards for preparation of state and local government financial reports, County Auditor Eladio Gonzalez Jr. said.

"We believe our current report continues to conform to program requirements and we are submitting it to GFOA to determine its eligibility for another certificate," Gonzalez said in the report.

Local Certified Public Accountant Raul Hernandez was in charge of conducting the independent audit, which reviewed the financial information under all assets, account activities, funds, revenues and expenditures for Jim Wells County.

Under total net assets, Hernandez said the county has had a good year.

"The total change in net assets saw an increase of $1,398,891," Hernandez said. "You've had a good year."

At the beginning of 2006, the county had $21,617,154 in assets. By the end of the year, the assets totaled $23,016,045. The county also saw a net increase in fund balances of $1,433,096 last year.

County commissioners also discussed the 2008 proposed budget. Gonzalez passed out modified budgets, using the effective tax rate of $0.6580 for the budget calculations.

The only additions in departmental requests since last week's budget meetings included an additional $3,436 for the district court reporter, which includes $2,915 in salary expenses, $223 in social security taxes, $289 in retirement and $9 in worker's compensation. The court reporter's salary would be increased from the proposed $61,213 to $64,128.

The salary grievance committee's recommendation, concerning an increase in salary for Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Sylvia Johnson was also included in the proposed budget. Johnson sought an increase of $4,000, to $32,000.

The commissioners will consider the increase, along with all other items in the proposed budget before taking a final vote.

The total increase in the general fund over the proposed budget is $405,510. The court will meet again on Sept. 20 to hold a public hearing and to approve both the budget and the tax rate for Jim Wells County.