County gets good news from audit

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With a few small exceptions, Cannon County received a clean bill of health on its state audit for the year that ended June 30, 2013.

"That's probably one of the best audits we've ever had," said County Executive Mike Gannon.

"I've got to give full credit to Diane (Hickman) and the Audit Committee helped us a great deal," Gannon said.
The County Executive said he had a few doubts when the Audit Committee was first named, but the group has been an asset to local government. "I'm really proud of them."

Probably, the biggest problem in Gannon's portion of the budget dealt with a last minute change in the pay for the REACH program's director.

"When the original budget was submitted, the line item for the (REACH) director's pay was under budgeted. This was an oversight," Gannon said.

Actually, the director's salary was the same as the previous year plus an increase of less than one percent. "All other county employees received a three percent pay increase," Gannon said.

The REACH budget was complicated by the fact the County Commission voted to move REACH from the county General Fund to its own fund beginning July 1, 2012.

"It was very difficult to keep track of revenues and expenditures working between the two funds. We were not aware that the salary line item was under budgeted until after the fiscal year ended," Gannon said.

State auditors discovered several findings in response to Cannon County's Financial Report for the year that ended June 30, 2013. Justin P. Wilson, state comptroller of the treasury, addressed the problems in a letter to the Cannon County Board of Commissioners.

Only one of the findings was considered a "material weakness" by auditors, Wilson said.

That finding dealt with adjustments made in the Highway/Public Works Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

"Audit adjustments totaling $133,943 were required for the financial statements to be materially correct a year end … Material audit adjustments were required because the county's financial reporting system did not prevent, detect or correct potential misstatements in the accounting records," state auditors said.

County officials did not respond to that audit question.

Auditors took the Director of Schools to task for understating its beginning fund balance for the year by $1.5 million.

"The General Purpose School Fund's actual beginning fund balance at July 1, 2012, exceeded the estimated beginning fund balance presented to the County Commission by $1,501,518. Sound business practices dictate that realistic estimates of beginning fund balances should be presented to the County Commission during the budget process," the auditors said.

Director of Schools Barbara Parker said in her response to the auditors that in the past, the schools' budget did not include reserves or designated funds.

"For the 2013-14 proposed school budget, which was presented to the County Commission in June 2013, both designated and undesignated funds were included, so that the fund balance reflected should be more comprehensive," she said.






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