Wood County Commission receives clean audit report

Perry & Associates President Jodey Altier and Chief Operating Officer Bill Wilkinson appear before the Wood County Commission Monday to give the results of the audit they did of the county’s finances. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — Wood County had a good audit of its finances, officials said Monday.

Representatives with Perry & Associates Certified Public Accountants appeared before the Wood County Commission to present their findings in an audit of the county’s finances for the year ending June 30, 2017.

”I have nothing bad to report,” said Perry & Associates President Jodey Altier. ”We have done your audit for three years now and it keeps getting better and better.”

The year prior to Perry & Associates doing the audit, the state Auditor’s Office did it and found over a dozen things that needed to be addressed. The first year Perry & Associates did the audit it found six to seven items that needed to be addressed.

”I think it is to the credit of the commission, the administrator, the County Clerk’s Office that I see a very concerted effort to make things better, to clean things up and implement internal controls,” Altier said.

She talked about a change across all county offices and personnel where people and departments are communicating better.

”It shows in your audit report,” Altier said.

This year’s report had two recommendations the accountants felt the county needed to address, including how the county’s Day Report Center handled collections and remittance.

”…we noted the Center does not remit all fees collected to the Sheriff’s tax office on a monthly basis,” according to the Management Letter from Perry & Associates to the county. ”Instead, they are remitting the ending monthly bank balance rather than the actual revenues collected.

”Proper internal controls would require that an effective, accurate and secure transacting and accounting of monies that flow through the Mid-Ohio Valley Day Report Center be maintained.”

Those controls would include a ledger detailing all receipts and checks issued by the center resulting in a daily cash balance that could be reconciled to the monthly bank statement, the letter said.

Perry & Associates recommends the check issued to the sheriff’s office each month should be for the reconciled month end cash balance, which normally would equal the previous month’s collection.

”Within the first ten days of each month, the Center should prepare a monthly report summarizing all fees collected in the prior month and remit the reconciled collections and the report to the Sheriff’s Tax Office by check,” the letter said. ”A receipt should be obtained from the Sheriff’s Tax Office and attached to the monthly report copy and maintained in a file at the center.”

The audit also made note of the Assessor Fund Disbursement Policy.

”…we noted the Assessor’s office did not have written internal control policies and procedures to ensure disbursements were authorized and for proper public purpose,” the letter said. ”Effective internal control procedures and monitoring are critical to safeguard assets and prohibit misappropriation.

”The Assessor should implement written policies and procedures with effective application controls promptly.”

Wood County was put at “high risk” by the Department of Justice following findings in 2013. With the changes made through the work the county did with Perry & Associations over the past few years, Altier said, the county would be removed from that designation.

Commissioner Jimmy Colombo said these reports help county employees keep better records.

”We become more responsible to what we have to do,” he said.

Commission President Blair Couch said audits allow the county to improve its operations. With different people looking at operations someone might catch something that someone else missed, he said.

”An audit allows us to get better,” he said. ”It allows us to learn more about our operations.”