SBOA audit – ‘worst you can get’
Carroll County Council members have expressed concern about the state of the county’s finances for more than a year. The results from the 2014 and 2015 combined audit reinforced the notion the state of the county’s finances was a serious matter, although County Auditor Tom Gray did not seem to be in total agreement with that assessment.
Michael Williams of Governmental Accounting Consultants, Hartman & Williams, explained Monday evening at the monthly Council meeting the results of the last audit are “the worst you can get.” Williams continued to educate the Council and those in the audience, which included Commissioners Steve Pearson and John Brown. Commissioner Bill Brown was not in attendance, although the county leaders scheduled a formal meeting with the Council to discuss the situation.
Williams indicated, if the county received one more negative report from the Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBOA), the result would most likely impact its ability to bond for a new jail or any large project, nor would the county qualify for a loan. He said if any financial institution would agree to lend the county money, the interest rate would be very high.
Williams said his organization would work with the county to meet the criteria for a “qualified opinion” in the 2016 audit. He said an “unqualified opinion” is best but did not mention that rating as attainable in the next audit.
Gray said he wanted to explore other options before hiring Hartman & Williams, but that opinion did not receive support from the majority of the Council.
“I think we need to get going,” Council member Lawrence “Doc” Staffer said.
Commissioner Brown voiced agreement with not waiting to survey other groups which offer the same service. He said Commissioners could not act until the money is appropriated. Gray noted he is the office holder who, by law, chooses the consultant and Commissioners sign the contract.
Council member Jamie Rough made a motion to appropriate $35,000 from the Riverboat Gambling Fund specifically for Hartman & Williams. Council member Melinda Rossetter provided the second and the motion was unanimously approved.
According to information provided by Williams, Hartman & Williams has recently served Monroe, Greene and Howard counties along with the towns of Cloverdale, Mt. Ayr, Speedway, Dugger and Gaston. The group has also worked with school districts such as Plainfield, Loogootee, Lawrenceburg, Salem, White River Valley, Barr-Reeve, Vincennes, North Gibson and Baugo.
The contract is expected to be discussed at the Monday morning Commissioners meeting beginning at 9 a.m.