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Oct. 24, 2021

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Clark County financial report shows finances are solid

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Clark County’s financial health remains strong. That’s according to a newly created report from the Clark County Auditor’s Office that aims to provide residents with a “user friendly,” short-form overview of the county’s financial health.

“The PAFR is another tool to provide transparency and accountability to the public regarding their county government,” County Auditor Greg Kimsey said in a prepared statement. “Our hope is that users will find it easier to engage with the county as a result of the PAFR.”

PAFR stands for “Popular Annual Financial Report,” and Mark Gassaway, the county’s finance director, said it is designed to be more narrative-based and citizen-centric, unlike the comprehensive report’s schedule-centric format.

Coming from, going to

Although not as detailed as the county’s full annual report, the new report still provides a thorough review of where the county’s funds are coming from and where they are being spent.

For example, the new report breaks down revenues and expenses into two categories: governmental activities and business-type activities. Governmental activities are primarily supported by taxes and include such basic services as public safety, public health and general government. Business-type activities are mainly supported by user fees and service charges (i.e. wastewater treatment, Tri-Mountain Golf Course).

To Learn More

The full report, as well as the more comprehensive financial report, can be found on the county website at

clark.wa.gov/auditor/financial-reports

In 2020, revenue totaled $461.8 million, an increase of 18.7 percent from 2019’s revenues of $389.07 million. By comparison, expenses rose by 10.5 percent in 2020 to $336.46 million, up from $304.44 million in 2019.

The report states, “Much of the increase in revenue was due to federal funding to help the county combat the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to higher than expected spending to combat the virus.” Operating grants were the second-highest source of revenue for the county at $109.9 million. The largest source was property taxes at $118.9 million.

The county received $48 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, which was used for COVID-19 testing, increased disinfection of public areas and personal protective equipment, as well as small-business grants and utility assistance.

“The county’s response is still ongoing and into 2021 has transitioned to include COVID-19 vaccinations,” the report states.

With funding from the CARES Act at an end, Gassaway said programs tied to those grants will also come to an end. However, the county is set to receive $95 million over 2021 and 2022 through the American Rescue Plan Act.

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