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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

Attorney General changes audit rules for counties

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yearly audits no longer required in Mississippi county

CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County officials would like to know their options before agreeing to participate in a new audit schedule.

County officials reviewed a letter from Susan Montee, state auditor, during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday.

Montee advises in the letter than a recent opinion by the Attorney General has "concluded that a county health center board ... is defined as a political subdivision for audit purposes ... As a result, my office will no longer include such health center boards within the scope of our county audits. Additionally, health center expenditures should no longer be included in your county's Schedule of Federal Awards (SEFA) that is filed with the annual county budget."

County Clerk Junior DeLay explained that without the county health department's federal funding being added to the county's, the county should no longer exceed $500,000 in federal funding during a budget year. "So we probably won't be required to have a single audit," DeLay said.

According to state statutes, the county is required to be audited by the state auditor once every four years, he said. DeLay described this audit by the state auditor's office as a "full-blown performance and financial audit."

The state auditor's office believes it is beneficial for third class counties to have a financial audit every two years so it will seek bids to award a contract for audits at the two-year interval between state audits and will pay half the cost of these audits for third class counties that participate, according to DeLay.

DeLay said these would be "strictly a financial audit limited in scope," similar to the single audits formerly required for county's receiving over $500,000 in federal funding.

"We're not required to do it, however it is recommended," DeLay said. He added that "it would be easier on us to have it every two years."

The audits will be through a state contract "so we don't know what that price might be," he said.

DeLay said he will contact the state auditor's office to see if the county can agree to participate in the state contracted audits but opt out if the county's half of the cost is more than the county would pay to a local auditor.

In other business Thursday:

* Questions regarding U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant funding approved for the county to purchase law enforcement vehicles were answered.

A copy of the 2007 grant application was not forwarded to county officials leading them to believe the sheriff's department had reapplied for three vehicles as it did for the 2006 grant cycle. The 2006 application was denied.

The $51,568 approved for the county is 80 percent of the cost for two fully-

equipped SUVs -- lights, sirens, radios -- with a local match of about $13,000 required.

* Commissioners approved renewing an agreement to contribute $3,000 toward the cost of a special prosecutor.

Most of the funding for the position comes from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area grant funding through Scott County.

As part of the agreement, the special prosecutor is available for Mississippi County at least four days per month along with trial dates.

"We've already got this in place," DeLay said. "This is just an extension of that."

* Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said the county will be using at least 50,000 gallons of sealing oil to extend the life of blacktop in the county.

"We're going to seal quite a few roads," he said.

* Commissioners discussed looking at Ditch 30 and soliciting for bids to have the ditch cleaned out.

Blumenberg also asked Commissioner Homer Oliver to look at Ditch 23 to see if recent work there has improved drainage.