This list shows what county entities received money from the late distribution and what their share was.
Date - Ck number - Entity - Amount
12/3 - 300467 - Albert City - $554.39
12/3 - 300468 - Albion Township Treasurer - $7,130.89
12/3 - 300469 - Barton County Community College - $396,930.12
12/3 - 300470 - Beaver Township Treasurer - $1,317.18
12/3 - 300471 - Big Bend Groundwater Mgmnt - $1,699.84
12/3 - 300472 - Buffalo Township Treasurer - $3,045.06
12/3 - 300473 - Cheyenne Township Treasurer - $2,308.88
12/3 - 300474 - CKLS - $13,039.77
12/3 - 300475 - Claflin Cemetery District - $1,588.81
12/3 - 300476 - Claflin City - $3,372.50
12/3 - 300477 - Clarence Township Treasurer - $1,693.95
12/3 - 300478 - Cleveland Township Treasurer - $8,274.85
12/3 - 300479 - Comanche Township Treasurer - $28,204.01
12/3 - 300480 - Comanche-Lakin Cemetery District - $12,617.92
12/3 - 300481 - Ellinwood City - $16,278.41
12/3 - 300482 - Ellinwood Hospital - $88,138.52
12/3 - 300483 - Eureka Township Treasurer - $7,824.31
12/3 - 300484 - Fairview Township Treasurer - $1,113.85
12/3 - 300485 - Galatia City - $47.25
12/3 - 300486 - Grant Township Treasurer - $461.15
12/3 - 300487 - Great Bend City - $157,766.39
12/3 - 300488 - Great Bend Township Treasurer - $5,430.78
12/3 - 300489 - Hoisington City - $24,876.10
12/3 - 300490 - Independent Township Treasurer - $2,470.46
12/3 - 300491 - Lakin Township Treasurer - $15,195.17
12/3 - 300492 - Liberty Township Treasurer - $1,962.75
12/3 - 300493 - Logan Township Treasurer - $3,452.63
12/3 - 300494 - Mental Health Fund - $5,072.61
12/3 - 300495 - North Homestead Township Treasurer - $9,253.59
12/3 - 300496 - Olmitz City - $237.89
12/3 - 300497 - Pawnee Rock City - $1,143.82
12/3 - 300498 - Pawnee Rock Township Treasurer - $2,291.42
12/3 - 300499 - South Bend Township Treasurer - $6,384.19
12/3 - 300500 - South Homestead Township Treasurer - $638.66
12/3 - 300501 - Southwest Developmental Service - $3,187.13
12/3 - 300502 - St USD #112 - $15,671.24
12/3 - 300503 - St USD #355 - $77,266.37
12/3 - 300504 - St USD #403 - $1,699.04
12/3 - 300505 - St USD #428 - $91,236.14
12/3 - 300506 - St USD #431 - $31,998.07
12/3 - 300507 - St USD #495 - $1,842.27
12/3 - 300508 - State Education Bldg - $12,102.36
12/3 - 300509 - State Institutional Bldg - $6,051.16
12/3 - 300510 - Susank City - $100.37
12/3 - 300511 - Union Township Treasurer - $6,508.18
12/3 - 300512 - USD#112 - $21,012.53
12/3 - 300513 - USD#112 - $1,712.30
12/3 - 300514 - USD#355 - $174,981.60
12/3 - 300515 - USD#403 - $1,664.30
12/3 - 300516 - USD#428 (Rec Com) - $127,835.84
12/3 - 300517 - USD#428 (Rec Com) - $30,363.63
12/3 - 300518 - USD#431 - $82,456.52
12/3 - 300519 - USD#495 - $3,701.28
12/3 - 300520 - Walnut Township Treasurer - $644.71
12/3 - 300521 - Wet Walnut Creek Watershed #58 - $1,094.72
12/3 - 300522 - Wheatland Township Treasurer - $2,876.15
- - Total Checks - $1,527,824.03
- - -
Although the General Fund was not impacted by the delay in tax payments, a handful of Barton County funds are receiving money. This show which ones and how much.
Barton County Government Distribution
Ambulance - $19,041.51
Cemetery - $1,437.01
Developmental Disabilities - $3,187.13
Employee Benefit - $85,497.25
Fire District No. 1 - $1,840.66
General - $138,671.32
Health - $9,683.84
Mental Health - $5,072.61
Noxious Weed - $13,764.02
Road and Bridge - $141,830.67
Special Bridge Replacement - $11,513.70
Special Liability - $2,176.11
Total Barton County Government - $433,715.83
Total Checks/Distributions $1,961,539.86
The revelation Monday that the Barton County Treasurer’s office failed to distribute $1.9 million in tax money from May that should have been distributed in June has left public entities, as well as the general public, stunned and scrambling for answers.
The late payments may cause hardships for taxing entities in the county, such as townships, Barton Community College and school districts. And, although this money would not have influenced the General Fund or the setting of the county’s mill levy, they have also impacted some county funds.
As it turns out, the missing money was not discovered by Wondra or his office, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. It was found by the county’s Financial Officer Jessica Wilson.
“All the taxing entities are fortunate she caught it,” Boeckman said. “The treasurer had no idea he was sitting on $1.9 million. If Jessica could catch that the treasurer should have been able to catch it.”
The story also left readers scratching their heads.
Following the news which came to light during a report from County Treasurer Kevin Wondra at the County Commission meeting Monday morning, the Great Bend Tribune received several calls asking for a list of the taxing entities impacted and how much each of them will receive.
So, the Tribune filed an Kansas Open Records Act request with the Treasurer’s Office which had initially hesitated to release the information. The Tribune sought the list of entities, the amounts they were owed and when the checks were written.
Monday, Wondra assured the commissioners that the checks were “on his desk” and ready to go.
However, that was not the case. Information found in the office’s check register turned over to the Tribune following its request indicates all the checks were in fact dated Dec. 3, or Wednesday.
In all, there were 55 checks to 55 different governmental bodies. In addition, Barton County will receive a share of the funds. The funds in question cover May 16-31 and should have gone out in the June distribution.
Here are some of the recipients of this money and the amounts they will receive: Barton County, $433,715.83; BCC, $396,930.12; City of Great Bend, $157,766.39; and USD 428, $91,236.14. The totals range all the way down to $47.25 that goes to Galatia.
But, its not always about the total. Even a small amount of money can be a large percentage of a smaller entities budget.
See the related graphics for the entire list.
The treasurer has as one of his statutory duties to collect taxes for all the different governing bodies and to distribute them to the governing bodies quarterly, Boeckman said. In this case the treasurer was collecting 2014 tax monies and those are the tax monies he has failed to distribute timely.
The failure to distribute would not impact the setting of the mill levy either for 2014 or 2015. But, there are other ramifications.
“When the commissioners set the mill levy in August the mill levy that is set is for taxes collected in the following year,” he said. Highly simplified, the governing body looks at estimated and necessary expenditures for the following year, estimates revenue sources other property tax, then the difference is the amount of money to be raised thru the property tax to finalize the budget. There is an easy formula to determine what the mill levy will be once the dollar amount to be raised from property tax is known.
“The General Fund is not impacted,” he said. The county would not have run short of funds.
“What the failure to distribute does impact is the money available to the taxing entities,” Boeckman said. Each governing body goes through the same process and based upon their respective estimates expects a certain amount of money to be collected and distributed by the treasurer.
“If the treasurer fails to distribute that money and the money is consequently not available for use it can create real problems,” he said. For the smaller taxing entities they might run short on money for payroll and other matters.
In addition, there are certain county funds that would have not gotten the amount of money budgeted for them had this mistake not been caught. “While it is not a mill levy issue, the failure to distribute might have created monetary challenges for those agencies,” he said.
Among these smaller entities are the townships and smaller communities. There are also some non-governmental organizations that get slivers of this pie.
“If you use your household budget as a comparison, you budget based upon receiving a certain amount of income, Boeckman said. Should an employer fail to pay an employee, that impacts their revenue stream and they will have to do something to make up for the loss of revenue.
For the larger taxing entities like the county, Great Bend, Barton Community College, etc., they have enough other revenue sources besides the mill levy to weather this failure to distribute, Boeckman said. “Even for the county though, there are certain accounts that would have been adversely impacted had Jessica not caught this mistake by the treasurer.”
Among these county funds were Ambulance ($19,041), Developmental Disabilities ($3,187), Mental Health ($5,072) and Road and Bridge ($141,830).
The difference a fiscal year makes
For the governmental bodies mentioned above, their fiscal years run parallel to the calendar year. So, they still have time to account for the new funds. But, what if you had already closed the books on your fiscal year?
This is the case for the Unified School Districts and BCC. The fiscal years for these institutions run from June 1 through May 31.
Because of this, the money should have to be credited to the previous year’s books.
“I don’t know why they weren’t distributed,” Wondra said of the money when he addressed the commission Monday.
Just over a year ago, the county switched to a system provided by Computer Information Concepts Inc. to handle its bookkeeping and business matters. The conversion was challenging for Wondra’s office and he said they are still figuring out how it works.
If all goes as planned, Wondra’s staff enters the date parameters for the distribution and payments are compiled. Until this incident was discovered, the treasurer assumed it had been working well.
Once the numbers are keyed in, he said he and his staff have not been double checking to make sure the payments are made. “We made the assumption that everything was correct,” Wondra told the County Commission Monday morning
In the case of the recently found money, it should have been entered into the system at a time when CIC had tech support personnel in the Treasurer’s Office, Wondra said. Perhaps, he said, the wrong dates got entered, but he had no definitive explanation.
He has learned, however, the software has the ability to run a report prior to the distribution being made as a double check. “We were never told to run this report,” he said.
Wondra said his office will begin running the summary reports on a regular basis.
Many on the commission were frustrated Monday, finding parallels between the problems in the office recently with unreconciled tax rolls dating back to 2012 and the current mess. Although cleared up now, the earlier problems put Wondra in the hot seat and hurt the county when it came time for the annual audit.