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Audit shows county in good shape
Commissioners hear 2018 audit report
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The Barton County Commission accepted the 2018 audit report. The audit painted a good picture of the county' fiscal health. - photo by Tribune file photo

It was good news as Barton County commissioners heard and accepted the 2018 audit report Monday morning. It covered the county’s financial condition from Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2018.

“This is an unmodified opinion,” said Melissa Ille of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball, the firm that handles the audit. “This means we have a clean opinion. You can’t get any higher than that.”

First, Ille ran through the main financial statement, which summarized the activities and totals for county funds.

There was a beginning unencumbered cash balance of $14,624,589. After receipts of $26,381,160 and expenditures of $25,490,165, there was an ending unencumbered cash balance of $15,549,432. 

That is up almost $1 million from beginning balance. “So, we’re going in the right direction in setting some cash reserves aside for operations of the county,” she said.

After adding back in accounts payable and encumbrances at the end of the year totally $1,774,629, the county had an ending cash available of $16,624,061.

There was no management letter since there were no material or significant issues the firm had to report to the county commissioners, Ille said. “So that is a good thing.”

She then turned to the governance letter which outlined audit findings and suggestions.

There were a few small recommendations, such as having better controls in place for opening new and closing old bank accounts and making sure receipts for petty cash expenditures get turned in to the County Clerk’s Office. But, “It’s nothing major,” Ille said.

Besides, she said, these issues have already been discussed with the appropriate county personnel and have been taken care of, she said.

The opinion was issued on the “regulatory basis of accounting, Ille said. 

Each year, the county waives following the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). In short, GAAP requires reporting cash and non-cash assets, and liabilities.

However, when it comes to what the state wants in its budget documents, this won’t work. So, many municipalities waive GAAP and operate on a regulatory basis (modified cash basis) that tracks cash, certain accounts payable and encumbrances only, to make reporting easier.

Auditors must note this, but there is no averse impact from it. So, they issue a “special opinion.”

It was also noted under the footnote section of the report that the county established Fire District Number Two within the year. It had to be disclosed that it was not included in the audit since it is a separate taxing entity. 

“We enjoy coming over the county and working with the staff on the audit,” Ille said. 

“It was a pretty easy year,” County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said.

“It went pretty smoothly,” Ille said.


Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Accepted the 2018 county audit report following a presentation from Melissa Ille of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball. The report covers the financial condition of Barton County from Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2018.

In short, the report offered an “unmodified opinion,” which is the highest possible opinion that can be issued, Ille said.

• Approved having Suchy Construction pave the parking lot at the Sheriff’s Office shooting range with concrete. On June 10, The commission authorized the county Road and Bridge Department to lay cold-mix asphalt in the parking lot at a cost not to exceed $5,500. However, prior to Road and Bridge performing the work, Suchy Construction had an opening and offered to concrete the parking lot for a difference of only $311.32.