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October 17, 2013

Scotland County Earns Good Ranking in State Audit

JEFFERSON CITY (Oct. 15, 2013) - State Auditor Tom Schweich today released the audit of Scotland County. The state auditor routinely audits counties that do not elect a county auditor.

In the areas audited, the overall performance of this entity was Good. v According to the state auditor's office, the overall audit rating covers only audited areas and does not reflect an opinion on the overall operation of the entity. Within that context, the rating scale indicates the county's reviewed operations were ranked Good which denotes that the audited entity is well managed. The report contains few findings, and the entity has indicated most or all recommendations have already been, or will be, implemented. In addition, if applicable, many of the prior recommendations have been implemented.

One major finding of the audit was concerns the county may not have sufficient funds to pay outstanding liabilities of $227,974. The county owes $49,408 for unpaid salary amounts relating to a statutory change affecting the base salary amount paid to elected county officials. The county also owes $178,566 pursuant to a court judgment issued in February 2013. The county is appealing the decision, but no decision had been rendered as of September 25, 2013.

The auditors noted that the county did take into account the underpaid salary amounts when preparing the 2013 budget for the General Revenue Fund, but did not consider the court judgment which was not known at the time. Even though the General Revenue Fund had an available cash balance of $197,855 as of December 31, 2012, the county has projected an ending cash balance of only $5,745 as of December 31, 2013.

"Should the outcome of the appeal confirm the original court decision, the county will likely not have sufficient funds available to pay the judgment," the report stated. "The County Commission needs to consider significant changes to ensure the necessary funds are available to cover all liabilities. Possible options to improving the county's financial condition include reducing spending where possible, evaluating controls and management practices to ensure efficient use of county resources, maximizing all sources of revenue, and closely monitoring county budgets."

A second audit issue revolved around sales of phone cards by the sheriff's office for jail inmates usage. The auditor noted that the office does not always deposit or disburse the monies collected on a timely basis.

"Weaknesses exist in accounting controls and procedures in the Sheriff's office," the audit report stated. "The Sheriff's office processed monies for civil and criminal fees, concealed carry permits, phone card sales, bonds, and other miscellaneous receipts totaling approximately $102,000 for the year ended December 31, 2012."

The audit report also noted, "The sheriff's office bills other entities for boarding prisoners and bills civil process fees and mileage, but does not adequately follow-up to ensure all payments are received. The computerized inventory log of seized property and evidence does not always document the release or disposition of such property, evidence bags do not always document the correct case number, and periodic physical inventories are not documented."

Auditors suggested that to reduce the risk of loss, theft, or misuse of monies received, procedures should be established to ensure all monies received are properly receipted, promptly recorded, and deposited intact.

A continuing concern for the auditors was the county's road and bridge fuel usage and monitoring.

"As noted in our prior audit report, the county does not effectively monitor road and bridge department fuel use," the report stated. "In 2012, bulk fuel purchases exceeded reported bulk fuel usage by 7,203 gallons, but the county's reconciliation process and follow-up procedures are not sufficient, making it difficult to identify any misuse of fuel."

The county has installed a new certified meter on the fuel tank and has implemented additional safe guards for monthly reviews of fuel purchases and usage logs.

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