County to seek help reconciling general fund
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 3:02 PM
Jefferson County Council members on Tuesday discussed the findings of the county’s 2014 financial audit by state officials that shows $49,500 remains unaccounted for in the county’s general fund.
Jefferson County Treasurer Melinda Klopp said the funds remained unaccounted for at the completion of the 2014 audit. The audit was completed last December by State Board of Accounts officials.
Klopp said the audit found weak internal controls, including no monthly cash reconciliations and financial reports not completed each month.
Klopp said her office has implemented changes within the last two months, but she asked council members to consider hiring a temporary accountant to help staff find the unaccounted money from 2014.
Klopp noted going through the 2014 books would be a large task for current staff members to undertake with their current duties, and she would like a professional to come in to take a look.
Councilwoman Pam Crozier supported hiring a temporary accounting assistant for the office.
“When the county’s short $49,500, I was just kind of astounded and wanted to do something about it,” Crozier said.
“I would really like to see us go forth and shore that office up so we would know where that book is supposed to be at so we know what were dealing with,” she said. “Is it a black number or is it a red number?”
Crozier said she doesn’t believe county officials should sit and wait for state auditors to catch up with the last two years before local officials take action.
Crozier said she hopes to see some kind of proactive approach.
Councilman Gary Armbrecht noted Klopp is only responsible for the treasurer’s books from Jan. 1 as a starting point and move forward, reconciling each month.
“You’ve got to get on the same page now,” he said. “Then you go back.”
Armbrecht noted former Jefferson County Treasurer Linda Greene has not been charged for any wrongdoing following the 2014 audit.
He also said the $49,500 in unaccounted funds isn’t a solid number. The number could be larger or could be much smaller. Some transactions could be erroneously posted or money could be in a wrong fund.
Councilman Chris Shelton agreed, saying there may be no issue with the books at all.
“Everything may be perfectly fine,” he said. Shelton noted funds shift quickly, especially with so many accounts.
Council members agreed to look into bringing in someone with knowledge of county financials to take a look at the books and attempt to reconcile the numbers.
“I think it definitely needs to be cleaned up,” Shelton said.
In other business:
• Tonya Ruble-Richter with Voices for Children presented some statistics for local children involved in court proceedings and other Child in Need of Services – or CHINS – case statistics in the county. Richter said the amount of CHINS cases continue to increase and have nearly doubled since 2011, but there have been a decrease in funding from the county for the Court Appointed Special Advocates – or CASA – program.
Richter noted Voices for Children is always looking for CASA volunteers, but the non-profit also hopes to increase funding for the program too. Although the group deals with many layered issues, those issues are made even larger without extra funds to support the program.
Council members agreed to look into additional funding options during 2018 budget planning.
• Council members approved a request from John Nyberg of the Jefferson County Historical Society for $5,000 for roof repairs to the society’s 1895 railroad station museum. Commissioners approved the request during a meeting Friday.
The money will be combined with donations to fund a new roof for the building. Officials noted the 27-year-old roof was in an emergency situation following the recent wind storm.