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County audit results returned     Send a link to a friend

[JULY 21, 2004]  Although it was a bit rougher than usual due to working with a new company and new state laws, the yearly county audit is finally over. PTW of Springfield was the only bidder for the annual audit. The county had used Sikich Gardner for a number of years and they knew each other's expectations well. However, due to changes in state laws Sikich Gardner could no longer serve the county for the annual audit. The county has retained Sikich Gardner as consultants in other financial matters.

At Tuesday night's board meeting, Dave Meyer, a partner representing PTW, presented the audit results and a brief overview of the county finances for the fiscal year ending Nov. 30, 2003. Meyer said PTW looked at the documentation supporting all the county balances, cash balances in the bank at the end of the year, revenues that came in during the year and how the money was spent. "We came out and tested your financial information. We tested that, and we found that everything is fairly stated in all material respects. In other words, it's a good opinion," he said

The one qualification of something that is changing is that general fixed assets were not presented on this audit. Depreciation of equipment will be shown. That is something the county is working on this year, as it must be there for next year.

Meyer then pointed out highlights of the more than 45-page report, which included projected and actual budget comparisons for the past year.

The combined balance sheet showed that the total cash balance ending Nov. 30 was $11.8 million in various funds. Some funds are in agency funds that have tax money that has been collected and is passed on to others. A comparison of 2003 to 2002 shows that the numbers are similar, so the balances are probably the same in those funds as in the prior year, Meyer said.

The statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in form balances reflects what happened during the year. For example, Meyer said the county general fund took in $4 million and spent $4.9 million.

The next page contains budget versus actual. It provides, "Here's what you budgeted and here's what you actually did," Meyer explained. "If you look at the general fund, you actually budgeted to have a half-million-dollar loss."

 

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Looking at the report readily shows what contributed to the $354,000 less than budgeted figure. When you look at the revenues, you see that revenues fell far short of where you wanted them to be. As an example, interest was almost $70,000 less than hoped for. Another area that was lower than budgeted was the fines and fees collection.

Board chairman Dale Voyles commented that the fees and fines have been raised but did not affect this budget. It will be showing up and help the future finances.

Board member Chuck Ruben complimented county departments and heads for staying within their budgets. "On the expense side, we did rather well." He pointed out that the one department that was rather high was the judicial. But that is because the number of arrests, jail, juvenile and other costs are not controllable factors and cannot be predicted for the budget.

Meyer was asked how our audit compares to others. He said that PTW audits Will and Kane counties and about 50 or so municipalities. Most had expenditures in excess of revenues this past year. A lot of revenues were down. A lot of sales tax revenues were down and interest revenues were down as well, just like Logan County experienced.

There were also a lot of increases in public safety expenditures. There were additional law enforcement officers hired and extra expenditures for homeland security.

Future reporting standards will continue to change. Next year requires an "extra layer of reporting." The government sets all the rules for accounting, Meyer said. Sikich Gardner is helping the county prepare for the increased reporting.

Meyer concluded that the Logan County audit report was "pretty standard for a government your size."

[Jan Youngquist]

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