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County gets clean bill of financial health
Audit report done remotely due to COVID-19
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It was a bit of good news for Barton County Commissioners Monday morning as they mull the 2020 budget in light of possible impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. In approving 2019 audit, they learned it was a clean financial report with no budget violations.

After budget discussions following the commission agenda meeting Monday, the county will publish its budget in the Great Bend Tribune Wednesday. There will be a public hearing Monday Aug. 10 prior to the commissioners regular morning meeting.

“As you know, we’ve performed this audit remotely this year, due to the circumstances of COVID-19,” said Melissa Ille of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball. “So it took a little bit longer to get through all the back and forth email communications and phone calls, but we got it through and it went pretty well for us.”

She started at the top and worked her way through a brief recap of the audit. “We issued a clean opinion, accounting for the year.”

Looking at a summary of the funds, Ille noted the county started the year with $15,549,447, receipts of $27,111,808 and expenditures paid out $24,000,006,46. This left an ending unencumbered cash total of $18,022,417 (a little short of $2.5 million in cash savings during the year).

There were also accounts payable totalling $1,088,007.79. So if that is added that back into the actual cash available at year’s end was $19,111,001.96.

There was one statutory issue, and that was with about $11,000 unsecured pledged securities in the 20th Judicial District Clerk of the District Court’s office. Although technically a state office, they fall under the county audit. 

She stressed that all of the county’s banked funds are secured. This matter will be resolved by the court office and will not impact the county’s financial position.

Furthermore, “you had no budget violations during the year, everything came within budget,” Ille said. 

Next, she turned her attention to the governance letter, a document that lists any significant audit findings that need to be corrected and disagreements with management. But, “we had no such disagreements. We had one uncorrected item, and it was just the estimate of accrued payroll at year end just a difference in how we calculate it versus how the accounting staff calculated it.”

This was nothing that required any audit adjustments. 

“Then the rest of this letter is typically where we would report to you additional internal control recommendations or policies within the county,” she said “We actually did not have any for you this year. All of our prior recommendations were taken under advisement within each department and they either implemented or explained why it wouldn’t work for their department.”

“This really supports that we’ve got a good team working and everybody’s working together and that’s a good report as far as I’m concerned,” said Commissioner Jennifer Schartz.