Audit: County auditor vacancies caused accounting problems
Polk County Enterprise, August 2007
LIVINGSTON — County Commissioners received the independent audit report from Sandersen Knox & Belt LLP, giving the county an unqualified report that the financial statements are materially correct. Auditors gave recommendations in a management letter to implement additional procedures to maintain district clerk trust accounts, close out books at month end and year end and reconcile payroll records with IRS reports.
The audit also revealed inconsistencies in accounts payable. When the list was reconstructed it did not agree with the general ledger and auditors reported the problem seemed to result from lack of oversight due to the nine month vacancies in the county auditors office and systemic computer errors.
Auditors also found that the county missed several deadlines for financial reports.
The report commended county staff for their considerable efforts to get records in auditable condition which finally occurred 10 months after the fiscal year end.
Budget variances were identified in the audit report and auditors recommended that the county consult with its attorney about possible legal violations in connection with expenses in the general and debt service funds that exceeded appropriations.
Recurrences can be prevented with budgetary controls and purchase order approval procedures in the county auditors office, the report said.
Deficit fund balances were found in the county records management fund, DA collection fund and payroll clearing fund, the report said.
The county’s official responses to the findings indicated that steps will be taken to correct deficiencies.
In other business, commissioners agreed to:
• Contribute funds to obtain right of way for bridge replacement projects on FM 942 at Barnett Creek and Long King Creek relief bridge and Mud Creek.
County Judge John Thompson said previous right-of-way acquisitions did not require local funds, but this particular project had not been classified as a safety project, and that triggered a local match.
• Approved transfer of interest earned to date form the jail expansion construction fund to the debt service fund to pay a portion of the interest due on certificates of obligation.
• Approved the fiscal year 2008 budget for Polk Central Appraisal District.
• Approved an interlocal agreement with Trinity County to house inmate at the IAH Adult Detention Facility for $45 per inmate day.
• Approved Bailey Architects to submit an application for Texas Historical Commission Courthouse Preservation Grant Round V funding.
• Approved an order issuing bonds by the Lufkin Health Facilities Development Corporation to fund construction of a five-story tower at Lufkin Memorial Hospital that is similar to the Livingston project and repaying Lufkin facilities for expenses incurred at the Livingston site.
Commissioners will hold two public hearings on the proposed tax rate. The first hearing is set for 9 a.m. Aug. 28 and the second at 4 p.m. Sept. 4.
A budget hearing is set for for 9 a.m. Sept. 17, immediately prior to the regular Commissioner’s Court meeting.