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Fall 2016

A Message from the Clerk
 
Accounting for County Assets
 

    Have you ever wondered just how your local government keeps up with all of the assets they acquire either through purchase or donation?  As the Ex-Officio Clerk and Comptroller to the Board of County Commissioners, it is my job to ensure that these assets are properly accounted for.
 
    The first step in proper accounting is to determine if the asset should be categorized as a capital asset or not. A capital asset in simple terms is described as an asset acquired for use in operations that will benefit the local government for more than one fiscal period. Capital assets are generally the largest asset in local government.  If it is determined that the asset will only benefit one period, it is merely recognized as an expense.
 
    Once determined to be a capital asset, the next step is to find out if the capital asset should be capitalized for reporting purposes. To capitalize means to track the asset and spread out the cost of the asset over a specific period of time known as its useful life. The asset should be capitalized if it has an estimated useful life at least 2 years from the date of acquisition and its cost meets a preset threshold set by the local government.  All capitalized assets are inventoried by the local government on an annual basis.  If the asset does not meet the conditions to be capitalized, governments should still ensure that adequate control and accountability is maintained.
 
    Capital assets purchased by the local government are recorded at their historical cost (normally acquisition cost) to include all charges incurred to place the asset in operation.  Future improvements that enhance the asset's functionality or extend its useful are added to the historical cost. Capital assets that are donated to the local government are recorded at their fair value on the date the donation is made.
 
New GASB Standards for Public Pensions
 

    The GASB (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) views pensions as a component of employee compensation and believes that employers should report a liability for the unfunded portion of the pensions earned by their employees. This view led to the issuance of GASB standards Nos. 67 and 68 in June 2012 which changed the future accounting and financial reporting requirements for public pensions. Standard No. 67, Financial Reporting for Pension Plans, addresses financial reporting for state and local government pension plans. Standard No.68, Accounting and Financial Reporting for Pensions, established new accounting and financial reporting requirements for governments that provide their employees with pensions. These new standards are intended to: enhance the usefulness of employer­ level pension information financial reports; improve transparency and make it easier to compare public pension plans by standardizing financial reporting requirements.
 
    Prior to the adoption of these new standards, as long as participating employers were current with their statutorily-required contributions, there was no liability reported on their financial statements. Although employers will continue to be responsible for their contribution requirements, GASB 67 and 68 will now also require them to report their proportionate share of the net pension liability on their financial statements. The net pension liability is defined as the liability of employers for benefits provided to plan members through a defined benefit pension plan. The total pension liability less the market value of assets equals the net pension liability.
 
    Employers will also be required to recognize a new measure of net pension expense. The net pension expense will no longer be equal to the employer's required contributions to the plan but will now include the change in the net pension liability from year to year. It is important to note that GASB 67 and 68 are accounting standards, not funding standards. In other words, although employers will now be required to report their share of the net pension liability on their financial statements, they will not be required to fund that liability.
 


 County Financial Responsibilities

Who is responsible for the investing and safeguarding of the Nassau County funds?

In Florida, the Clerk of the Circuit Court is a constitutional officer created by Article V, Section 16 of the state’s Constitution. The Clerk’s responsibilities in the role of County Comptroller and “fiscal watchdog” include those of Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, and Auditor of County funds.  The Clerk’s Treasury responsibilities include the investment and safeguarding of County funds.

What statutes govern the Nassau County funds and investment accounts?

All County funds are deposited in accordance with Chapter 280 of the Florida statutes regarding bank and thrift deposits of public funds.  In addition to national laws, all investments of County surplus funds are governed by section 218.415 of the Florida Statutes and Nassau County Resolution 95-144. Allowable investments include U.S. direct and agency obligations, interest-bearing time deposits, local government investment pools, and repurchase agreements backed by U.S. direct or agency obligations.

What criteria are considered before investing  Nassau County surplus funds?
 
In accordance with FL statute 218.415 and Nassau County Resolution 95-144, the primary focus of the Clerk’s office when investing surplus funds is protection of the principal (county funds). Also, the maintenance of adequate liquidity to meet the County’s cash flow needs is an important goal.  While a competitive return is also desired, it is only considered after the safety and liquidity needs of County funds have been satisfied.  Bids from at least three financial institutions must be sought. The Clerk’s office ladders the maturities of the County’s time deposits in order to provide adequate liquidity for cash flow requirements, improve the predictability of interest income, and increase the overall portfolio return. 

What protections are in place to ensure the safeguarding of Nassau County funds?
 
All cash must be deposited in banks and thrift institutions that are active Florida Qualified Public Depositories (QPD’s) protected under the collateralized program with the Florida Division of the Treasury. For time deposit investments, any public funds not fully protected by FDIC insurance must be collateralized under the Florida QPD program.
The Nassau County quarterly cash and investment report is available at the Clerk’s website: www.nassauclerk.com/finance. If you have any questions regarding this column, please contact Mary Potochnik at 76347 Veterans Way, Yule, FL 32097 or (904) 548-4800
 
 
 
Note: Can you please add the link to the quarterly investment report here.

 


Checks From The Clerk - FAQ

Q:  What is the federal employer (tax) ID number for the Clerk's office?
 
  • The federal identification number for the Clerk's office is 59-6015296

Q:  What happens if my check is returned to the Clerk's office (NSF checks)?
  • The check will be presented twice for payment.  If the check is returned to the Clerk after the second presentation is made, a demand letter for payment is sent via certified mail to the maker of the check.  The demand for payment includes additional fees, complete instructions and consequences of non-payment.  Only cash, cashier's checks and money orders will be accepted to redeem a returned check.
 
Q: Where can I pick up a check?
 
  • Generally, the Finance Department mails out checks. Some customers prefer to pick up their checks in person. A picture identification card is required to pick up the check. Our Finance Department is located on the second floor of the Robert M. Foster Justice Center, 76347 Veterans Way in Yulee, Florida.
 
Q: What is the current statutory interest rate for judgments and decrees?
 
  • The current statutory interest rate, and related information can be found on the Florida Department of Financial Services website:


 
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Our mailing address is:
Nassau County Clerk of Courts
76347 Veteran's Way, Suite 456
Yulee, FL  32097


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Nassau County Clerk of Courts · 76347 Veteran's Way · Yulee, FL 32097 · USA

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