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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Lawrence County Council Responds to Audit Findings of CARES Act and County Funds

LAWRENCE COUNTY - (March 28, 2022) - The Lawrence County Council has responded to the recent audit conducted by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.

Lawrence County Council President Scott Smith

The Indiana State Board of Accounts audited the financial statements of Lawrence County as of and the year ending December 31, 2020, and related notes to the financial statement and issued report on March 15, 2022.

The financial statement presented for the audit included the following errors:

  • The beginning cash and investment balance of eight funds was overstated by $15,904

  • The receipts of eight funds were overstated by $106,622

  • The disbursements of twenty-six funds were understated by $189,747

  • Additionally, there were material classification errors for receipts and disbursements. Audit adjustments were proposed, accepted by the county and made to the financial statement.

Management had not established a system of internal controls that would have endured proper reporting of transactions and the financial statement. Without a proper system of internal control in place that operated effectively, material misstatements or irregularities of the AFR and financial statement, remained undetected. The financial statement included errors identified in the condition and context.

This was a repeat finding from immediately prior audit report 2019 -001.

The county had not established internal controls over the federal award information entered in the Indiana Gateway for Government units financial reporting system, which was the source of the county's Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards. The county did not have a proper system of internal control in place to prevent or detect, and correct errors on the SEFA.

The Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Award Errors include:

  • The Crime Victim Assistance Grant expenditures were understated by $14,034

  • The Violence Against Woman Formula Grants was omitted which under stated expenditures by $38,316

  • The Edward Bryne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant expenditures were understated by $50,360

  • One project within the Highway Planning and Construction Cluster was omitted, which understated expenditures by $23,738.

  • Additionally, one project in the Cluster Area was understated by $19,464 and one project in the project was overstated by $6,085 which resulted in the net understatement of $37,117

  • The State and Community Highway Safety Grant expenditures were understated by $9,626

  • The National Priority Safety Program grant expenditures were overstated by $17,554 and the Assistance Listings number was incorrect

  • The Airport Improvement Program grant expenditures were overstated by $20,928

  • The Minimum Penalties for Repeat Offenders for Driving While Intoxicated grant expenditures were overstated by $12,973

  • The COVID -19 Coronavirus Relief Fund grant expenditures were understated by $26,034. In addition the amount passed through to sub-receipts was omitted which understated expenditures by $17,277

  • The COVID -19 2020 HAVA CARES Act Grant was omitted which understated expenditures by $57,955

  • The Public Health Preparedness grant expenditures were understated by $1,370

  • The immunization Cooperative Agreements were understated by $14,014

  • The Child Support Enforcement grant expenditures were overstated by $22,445

  • The Opioid STR grant was reported as a reimbursement grant instead of an advanced grant, with understated expenditures by $3,263.

  • Three grants were reported in error, which overstated expenditures by $62,856

  • Other errors included incorrect program names, pass-through entity names and passthrough identifying numbers.

Lawrence County Zephyr continues to look at the report and will provide additional features on the findings of the audit. Lawrence County Zephyr have reached out to the Lawrence County Commissioners, Lawrence County Council, Lawrence County Auditor Jessica Staggs, former Lawrence County Auditor Jody Edwards, and Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham who all have been identified in the report.

There have been issues identified in the remaining CARES -Act Funds that at this time there is no clear understanding of where $200,000 have been spent.

Lawrence County Council president Scott Smith responded this morning, to the latest findings.

"In regard to the findings of the state audit, the council is confident that any and all departments that were identified to have issues that were noncompliant will be corrected with the state board of accounts moving forward.

As for the federal audit, the Lawrence County Council played no role in the decision making or the allocation of the Cares Act Funds. The only exception to this would be the county stipend given to employees. The Lawrence County Council was not included in the oversight of these funds, nor did any County Council member serve on any committee in regard to the decision making for the allocation of the Cares Act," said Scott Smith president Lawrence County Council.

The Lawrence County Council on December 2020, voted to giving a stipend to county employees using COVID-19 funds. Lawrence County employees hired before December 1, 2020, received $1,000 and part-time employees received $500.


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