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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Indiana State Board Accounts Releases Audit Report for Lawrence County for 2021

LAWRENCE COUNTY - JULY 17, 2022 - The Indiana State Board of Accounts released second audit report for Lawrence County.

The supplemental audit covered the period of January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, which identified the issue with capital assets. This covered the county's financial statements as well as various federal grants the county has received.

According to the Indiana State Board of Accounts

Capital Asset amounts were uploaded to the Indiana Gateway for Government Units financial reporting system and included as a Supplemental Schedule in the approved preliminary financial statement. However, the detailed listing maintained by the County Auditor did not agree to the Supplemental Schedule; therefore, the Schedule of Capital Assets was not included in the Financial Statement Audit Report.

Criteria Every unit must have a capital assets policy that details the threshold at which an item is considered a capital asset. Every unit must have a complete detail listing of all capital assets owned which reflects their acquisition value. Capital Asset Ledger (Form 369) has been prescribed for this purpose. A complete physical inventory must be taken at least every two years, unless more stringent requirements exist, to verify account balances carried in the accounting records. (Accounting and Uniform Compliance Guidelines Manual for County Auditors of Indiana, Chapter 1) INDIANA STATE BOARD OF ACCOUNT

The Lawrence County Commissioners addressed this issue at a recent county commissioners meeting establishing an ordinance to make the corrections.

Secondly, The Lawrence County Commissioners approved a resolution to establish a County Tourism Board, according to a recent audit the county did not have a ordinance in place to accept an In-Keepers Tax or Tourism Commission as required by law. Somehow the paperwork has been lost since the commission has been active since 1981.

There were other notes that should be noted from the audit include some deficits in the financial statement. Those issues were addressed in the following notes by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

  • Cash Balance Deficits The financial statement contains some funds with deficits in cash. This is a result of old grant funds that should have been closed out, and reimbursable grants for which expenditures had been made, but the reimbursements had not been received as of December 31, 2021.

Cash balance deficits identified:

  • Holding Corporation The County has entered into a capital lease with the Courthouse Annex Building Corporation (the lesser). The lessor was organized as a not-for-profit corporation pursuant to state statute for the purpose of financing and constructing or reconstructing facilities for lease to the County. The lessor has been determined to be a related-party of the County. Lease payments during the year 2021 totaled $262,181.

  • Subsequent Events The County has been awarded $8,812,591 from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The first distribution of these funds was received by the County on July 12, 2021, in the amount of $4,406,295 with the remaining balance to be received during 2022. Note 10. Combined Funds The Debt Service fund, Courthouse Plaza Lease/Rental fund, and Extension Bldg Lease/Rental fund are reported individually in the current financial statement, but were combined into one Debt Service fund for the prior financial statement.

This will make the second time the Indiana State Board of Accounts has audited the Lawrence County Auditor's Office. In the previous audit there were concerns that funds were not properly appropriated when the county received and spenT the COVID relief funds from the federal government.

The only other area in the audit that was identified is some question on costs during a Federal Grant Program that was received for the airport project.

The Indiana State Board of Accounts on that matter is noted below:

Assistance Listings Number Name of Federal Program or Cluster Opinion Issued 20.106 Airport Improvement Program Unmodified Dollar threshold used to distinguish between Type A and Type B programs: $750,000

Copy of Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs response to the findings are listed below:

SUMMARY SCHEDULE OF PRIOR AUDIT FINDINGS FINDING 2020-001 Fiscal year in which the finding initially occurred: 2020

Status of Audit Finding: The Audit findings were fully corrected in 2022 for the 2020 Gateway Submission of the Annual Report. The 2021 Annual Report was submitted on time. Additionally, more internal controls were implemented to ensure accuracy. FINDING 2020-002 Fiscal year in which the finding initially occurred: 2016 Status of Audit Finding: The Audit findings were fully corrected in 2022 for the 2020 Gateway Submission of the SEFA schedule. The 2021 Gateway Submission of the SEFA schedule was submitted on time. We are striving to improve our grant reporting process, as we are still reviewing, implementing and training on procedures with the various departments and our staff to obtain and provide the information needed to ensure accurate reporting of the federal grant information. Jessica Staggs Lawrence County Auditor

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