Knox County Commissioners Respond To Audit Report
By Mike Scott
“I would like people to know that any time they have any questions, they are welcome to come in and ask.” Knox County Clerk Debbie McCurren said last week.
McCurren and the Knox County Commissioners requested a meeting with the Edina Sentinel last week to clarify for the public some of the findings of the July, 2009, county audit. The story, which ran in the October 14 issue, outlined recommendations from State Auditor Susan Montee.
“The responses to the recommendations were done at the end of April and early May,” said McCurren.
“As far the cell phones, that has been paid in full,” she added.
“It ought to be noted that everyone paid their own cell phone bill,” Presiding Commissioner L.P. Pete Mayfield said. “The bills came in here in one big package, and they were sorted and everyone paid their own bill. The county did not pay anyone’s bill.
McCurren clarified that her bill had been paid by mistake while she was hospitalized.
Knox County is audited by the state every four years.
“The audit is to recommend procedures and make sure nothing illegal is going on,” McCurren said.
“As far as their recommendations, they like to recommend procedures that are not necessarily feasible for all counties,” she said.
McCurren noted that in the audit responses, the county noted that it would consider or implement the auditors recommendations.
“Most of these have all been implemented,” she added.
One example of following their recommendations was the implementation of a new personnel policy with a cell phone policy in it.
“The first personnel policy we had, we didn’t have cell phones then, so they weren’t included.
Mayfield addressed the financial condition of the county.
“I think when we started the year we had a $40 balance in the general revenue budget, and they said ‘you’ve got to maintain so much money in your account’. They insist all the time that we raise taxes. This past year we started $30,000 in the hole because the state took away $30,000 they said they overpaid us several years ago. They didn’t ask us how we were paying it, they just took it away,” Mayfield said.
“All the counties have problems right now. It’s not just us,” Mayfield said.
The auditor also noted that while county receipts are down, expenses have remained steady.
“We buying half the product we used to because the prices are up,” Mayfield said.
“These people audit Green County and Jackson County, and then come up here to these little counties and expect everything to be the same, and they’re not,” McCurren said.
As an example, the auditors questioned why the county didn’t charge sales tax when they sell rock or culverts.
“The rock and the tubes are used on county roads,” Mayfield added. “It’s our property.”
The complete audit can be viewed at www.nemonews.net.