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County gets clean audit
Audit among smoothest in recent years
new deh county commission audit barton county logo bw

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

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

• Heard a report on the 2017 county audit from Melissa Ille of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball. The county received a clean audit, Ille said.

• Approved the Barton County Health Department grant applications which total $356,375.

• Named Jennifer Schartz as the voting delegate to the Kansas Association of Counties annual conference Oct. 15 in Overland Park. Alicia Straub and Don Davis are the first and second alternates respectively. Each year, the commission designates a voting delegate and first and second voting alternates for the meeting.

• Heard a departmental update from County Administrator Phil Hathcock.

Barton County officials had several reasons to be pleased with the 2017 audit.  

“We issued an unmodified opinion,” said Melissa Ille of Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball when she made her report covering Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2017. It is the highest form of opinion that can be given on a regulatory basis.

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.

“We have a clean opinion we are issuing to the county,” Ille said. There were no material weaknesses or significant deficiencies.

“This was a very smooth audit,” she said. In fact, she said it was one of the best audits the county has had for awhile.

The county started the year with an unencumbered cash balance of $14,089,123. After receipts of $24,254,936 and expenditures of $729,342, the ending cash balance was $14,624,589.

This is up a shade under $400,000 from the end of last year, she said, noting this was a good accomplishment. “So, even in a tight budget year, you were able to set some funds in your reserves and that’s always a good thing.”

After all expenses were accounted for, the ending cash balance as of Dec. 31 was $15,496,210.

A couple of comments

Ille did note two issues of statutory violations. 

First, the previous County Treasurer Kevin Wondra didn’t get the January 2017 tax distributions out in a timely manner, in violation of state statutes, 

Second, the Clerk of the District Court Office had an unsecured cash balance in a bank account of $16,367. But, that has been resolved and the money has been transferred to a secure account.

She did offer another recommendation. She suggested that all receipts be turned into one place for cash reimbursement. This way, they are all in one place instead of being scattered among the different departments, making things more efficient. 

Ille did stress that no receipts were missing.  

A smooth process

“I appreciate the assistance we have from the staff at the county,” she said. “We were able to work through our procedures in a very timely manner and get this audit report to you fairly quickly.”

Although the time ABBB spent on the project was about the same as last year, the firm was able to complete much of the work prior to coming onsite, she said. This minimized how much the auditors had to interrupt county business.

Commissioner Alicia Straub asked if Ille had an estimate of cost for the 2018 audit. Straub noted, “This costs a fair sum of money every year.”

Ille said one was available. The county contracted with ABBB for three years after a bidding process. In December 2015, the commission approved a bid from ABBB to be the county’s auditing services through this November. The firm had submitted the only bid, which includes the audit for each year and general consultation and single audit services fees. The fee was $36,325 for the 2015 audit and increased to $38,920 for the 2017 audit.