State of the County

Published 9:26 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

Jessamine County receives what Judge-Executive calls ‘wonderful’ audit report

Although there were some areas in which auditors said the county must improve, Jessamine County Fiscal Court officials were pleased with the  results for fiscal year 2016.

“It was a wonderful audit report. They spent more time here this time because the financial condition,” Judge-Executive David West said. “It has a total end funding balance which is an increase of $785,333 from the prior year.”

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As a part of the audit process, public accounts auditor Mike Harmon’s office, who was in charge of the investigation, released findings on where Jessamine County was found to be in non-compliance with laws, regulations, contracts or grants.

Auditing standards require the auditor to communicate if the financial statement presents fairly the receipts, disbursements and changes in fund balances of the Jessamine County Fiscal Court. Through the auditing process, there were five findings that Jessamine County was found to not be in compliance.

The audit alleges that during the fiscal year 2016, Jessamine County had $1,051,389 in federal expenditures and the county did not prepare a Schedule of Federal Awards (SEFA) for that fiscal year until it was asked to do so by auditors. The fiscal court also did not have adequate procedures in place to ensure the preparation of the SEFA would be done in a timely manner and also did not ensure that all federal expenditures were accurately reported. It was recommended that the fiscal court improve controls over its financial statement reporting.

Auditor Harmon’s office also stated that Jessamine County Fiscal Court was found to have not properly accounted for debt payments made to another entity on behalf of the fiscal court which also exceeded the county’s budget. By not including this information, the auditor alleges that financial statements and notes are not providing a complete overview of the county’s debt.

“Both of those things were in reference to the purchase of the Glass farm. Ms. Glass popped up after we had already made our budget,” West said. “We buy it then, or we do not buy it and it goes on the market. So we bought it.”

In purchasing the Glass farm, West said it made it possible for Camp Nelson to be considered for National Monument status.

It was also recorded that the Jessamine County Fiscal Court did not require purchase orders. Auditors noted that 76 of 125 tested invoices were paid without a purchase order being prepared. These invoices were for items such as utilities, phone allotments for county employees, repair service, travel expense reimbursement, and miscellaneous supplies. Kentucky requires the State Local Finance Officer to create a system for uniform accounts for all counties and county officials.

West responded by saying, “This is kind of a little rift. The auditor wants us to write purchase orders for everything that we pay. They want us to do purchase orders for payroll and utility bills. The department of local government said to do this we have to hire another person. We have 200 employees. We have utility bills. We would have to spend $40,000 to $50,000 to initiate this program, this doesn’t seem like good use of taxpayer money. They said, ‘we agree.’”

The Jessamine County Fiscal Court was also found to not have sufficient support of ambulance receipts. Harmon’s office stated receipts were posted using bank account statements to obtain direct deposit information.

This situation has been fixed and West said, “Our ambulance billing service now sends a monthly ACH report directly to the court treasurer.”

The audit report also stated the Jessamine County jailer lacks internal control over receipts and that internal controls are not in place for bank account reconciliation to be accurate or for daily check-outs are completed for manual deposits. The report alleges that as a result reconciliation and cash balances could not be accurate.

“What they are referring to in this circumstance is one of my part time guys bought shovels from Lowes out of pocket in snow storm and lost the receipt,” Jailer Jon Sallee said. “Another time a maintenance guy went to Lowes to fix something and lost his receipt. Also, two receipts from deputies were misplaced.”

When asked how he felt the audit report went overall, West was positive.

“I’m very happy. We are better off from when the 2009 recession came and hit hard. Jessamine County had built up a good reserve then. Through that they had to use it, but now we are in the process of gradually building it back.”