Audit finds major bookkeeping issues in Carroll County

CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. – The Carroll County community has been hard hit the last few months. Now, county leaders are dealing with financial troubles.

The auditor in Carroll County is working to remedy bookkeeping issues that have persisted for several years. The most recent audit from the State Board of Accounts revealed major problems with documentation that kept the county from getting a positive financial review, which impacts the county’s ability to borrow money for big projects.

Tom Gray, the county auditor, said the findings are troubling but do not show any missing money.

“We’re not going to fix this overnight,” Gray said.

Gray said the main problem stems from missing documentation to back up their expenses in 2014 and 2015.

“We went down in the basement searched files down there, searched files up here and just couldn’t find them,” Gray.

The materials that were provided led the State Board of Accounts to determine payroll receipts were understated by more than $2 million, certain accounts were overdrawn and hundreds of dollars in penalty fees were paid to the IRS.

“There was, perhaps, money put in the wrong accounts then we had to go back and change it,” Gray said. “It’s a mess but it’s not a mess as far as missing funds or somebody did something wrong.”

Gray says turnover in the office is partially to blame.

“When you go through six auditors in two and half years, a lot of the time the auditor was in there just long enough to figure out things and then had to leave and someone else took over,” Gray said. “There was constantly going to be probably mistakes and that was costly to the county.”

The findings do not impact law enforcement resources dedicated to the Delphi double murder investigation or the Flora fatal fire case.

But, a hit to the county’s rating could lead to high interest rates on any loan needed down the road for large projects – like building a new jail.

“It’s a bad situation,” said Ann Brown, Vice-President of the Carroll County council. “We determined we should move forward as quickly as possible to correct the situation.”

This week, the council appropriated $35,000 to hire a consultant to help the auditor review all the financial materials and ensure the 2016 audit shows improvement.

The contract needs to be reviewed by the county commissioners. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday.

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