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AUDITOR: County must improve financial oversight

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By Danna Zabrovsky

Kentucky’s Auditor General has released a report suggesting Oldham County Fiscal Court hasn’t complied with federal regulations for money management in years past.
The report released March 31 by State Auditor Crit Luallen highlights several areas where the county must improve oversight of financial matters.
 It says that Oldham County “was not determined to be a low-risk auditee,” meaning that the county has a heightened risk of not complying with federal laws and regulations.
The report represents findings from the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Among the more pressing issues in the report, Luallen suggests fiscal court lacks sufficient central grants management and requires separation of program management and financial accountability.
Luallen also suggests making program managers responsible for monitoring vendors and project budgets, while financial administrators are responsible for paying vendors on time, reviewing invoices, calculating match for grants, recording expenditures and reimbursements, and requesting reimbursement of grant funds.
“It is important that these functions be separate to ensure good internal controls over grants management as required by federal agencies,” according to the report.
The audit found that fiscal court does not have complete, organized records of grants.
It also points out that no grant reimbursement requests were submitted for the Interurban Greenways project, under the Highway Planning and Construction Grant from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
And fiscal court also failed to request the proper amount – $224,640 – for reimbursement for a TARC grant for a congestion mitigation and air quality project.
A request dated Oct. 15, 2009, only requests a $179,712 reimbursement.
The county’s current treasurer, Melissa Horn, said the county spends grant money and later requests reimbursement from the lender.
The report also describes a lack of “sufficient internal controls” over a Curry’s Fork grant, which involved “non-compliances with cash management,” and regarding a grant administered by the Oldham County Police Department.
The report includes responses from former Judge-Executive Duane Murner to suggestions that fiscal court improve grant management.
“A more centralized approach to manage all financial aspects of all grants will be implemented,” Murner said.
He added that grant files would be stored in a locked cabinet to ensure they are not removed without being properly signed out. The county’s chief financial officer and treasurer will train those responsible for grant management, and fiscal court will maintain a list of all grants and track their status, Murner said.
Other issues outlined in the report include a need to strengthen internal control over payroll, and a requirement that bank deposits of public funds be insured and secured.
Judge-Executive David Voegele said the county now has four people controlling payroll, whereas one person used to do the job.
“We have taken steps to centralize our record keeping for grants and bonds,” said Judge-Executive David Voegele. He also said Horn has developed a system for keeping track of grants, so the county knows when grants are about to expire.

E-mail us about this story at: danna@oldhamera.com.