Our View: County must continue cautious fiscal approach

Published 9:20 am Friday, July 13, 2018

This week’s news that the Clark County Fiscal Court ended fiscal year 2018 with more than $3 million in cash on hand — something that hasn’t been equaled in nearly two decades — is something truly worth celebrating.

An announcement like this usually sparks an outcry by some that this means some segment is being underfunded, but this should not be viewed as a license to start spending.

The figure includes cash balances for the general fund, road department fund and jail fund.

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Judge-Executive Henry Branham said this has not always been the case and noted one year where the cash on hand was less than $12,000. He said dedicated employees and supervisors deserve the credit for living within their budgets and operating as efficiently as possible.

We could not agree more.

Still, we caution county officials from viewing this positive news as a windfall or a license to spend outside the budget, especially on recurring expenses that grow exponentially like staffing increases or pay raises.

When it comes right down to it, $3 million is not that much money for a municipal government like Clark County. One emergency or disaster situation could run through this in no time.

It also doesn’t mean some of this money isn’t already accounted for in the upcoming budget.

This is truly good news, but everyone needs to fully understand this for what it is — another positive sign the county is headed the right way financially — but not make it something it is not.