Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 25, 2012

Accounting problems continue in Tipton

Errors are still being found in auditor’s office

Kokomo Tribune

TIPTON — Accounting errors continue to plague the Tipton County Auditor’s office as efforts to balance the books slowly move forward.

Jacque Clements, the Maximus consultant, hired by the county earlier this year to resolve problems following the resignation of Amanda Inman as Auditor in June, said there is a negative balance in the drainage improvement fund of the Tipton County Surveyor’s office.

“The money hasn’t gotten over to the improvement fund,” Clements told members of the Tipton County Council Tuesday. “We’re working with the surveyor’s office to determine how much money should be in the drainage maintenance and drain improvement funds. I believe the money is there, but is in the wrong fund.”

Councilman Brad Nichols said errors continue to be found in the county’s ledgers but the corrections are not being made by the auditor’s office.

He recommended each department be provided with documentation of their expenses to look for errors.

“Ask the person who created the claim and turned it in,” Nichols said.

Commissioner Jane Harper said action taken by the commissioners to transfer funds from one account to another are not being done.

Clements said the auditor’s office staff is reviewing the minutes of the previous meetings to look for errors.

“The department heads should be looking at budgets all the time,” Clements said. “They should be tracking the available funds.”

Nichols said claims have been paid without the required signature of the department head by the auditor’s office. He said department don’t know the funds were being spent.

Clements said the Indiana State Board of Accounts indicated the county shouldn’t deal with the 2011 budget, because the books for that year have already been closed.

Auditor Greg Townsend said the department heads should review the expenses and report errors back to his office.

“We will make corrections as time allows,” he said.

Nichols then recommended a session where council members review budgets with the auditor and make immediate corrections.

Several council members including Nichols, Beth Roach, Suzanne Alexander and Harper have been volunteering to correct errors in the ledgers.

Townsend said he didn’t want the volunteer assistance because Clements wouldn’t know what work had already been completed.

Council members voted to appropriate $20,000 LOW Associates for a past due bill.

Townsend requested $25,000 to pay the outstanding bill of $17,100 and to have the remaining balance to have the company assist with the tax settlement along with Clements, who would receive $3,000.

He said any funds not used would be carried over as a credit in 2013.

Alexander wanted to put the funding in contract services to pay the outstanding bill.

“We don’t want to appear to be pre-paying for services,” she said.

Nichols said there is $15,000 in the 2013 budget for LOW and the company receives two payments.

For 2012 Inman spent the entire amount budgeted, $15,604 in January to pay for services received in 2011. She also spent the $16,000 budgeted for 2011 and a $5,000 credit the county had from 2010.