Variable number of problems detected during audits in the vicinity

Recent audits of local governments in and around Bartholomew County have revealed a varying number of financial reporting issues, according to Indiana State Board of Accounts records.

The audits, which covered the 2020 calendar year, reported “significant weaknesses” in financial reporting in Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jennings and Johnson counties, as well as the city of Columbus.

However, the Bartholomew County government was the only entity in this group where significant weaknesses were also detected in its internal controls related to federal awards in 2020.

Jackson County was the only local government in the area where auditors found no issues with financial procedures and internal controls for administering federal funds.

Audits for calendar year 2021 are not yet available for the City of Columbus or Brown, Decatur, Jackson, Jennings, and Johnson counties.

Last year, a City of Columbus audit identified issues with internal wire transfers between Columbus City Utilities bank accounts.

According to the audit, the utility splits the credit card payments it collects from customers equally each month and deposits them into its wastewater operating account and water operating account. However, the amount collected was not equally attributable to both accounts, and the utility did not make an adjusting bank transfer to account for the difference, resulting in the operating account of the wastewater owed $1.53 million to the water operating account.

In addition, bond proceeds from the Remediation Works Reimbursement Bonds and the 2020 Water Utilities Revenue Obligation were mistakenly deposited into utility bank accounts.

In response to the findings, the Columbus Clerk-Treasurer’s Office said the issues have been corrected and “will continue to closely monitor all accounts.” Columbus City Utilities said it would continue to work with Baker Tilly to “correct and resolve this issue.” The issue did not affect utility customers.

In Johnson County, officials added when they should have subtracted, resulting in an overstatement of custody funds by $23.6 million, according to a 2020 audit. Johnson County officials said that they “agree with the conclusion” and will work with their consultant “to verify that there are no errors in their financial statements.

A Brown County audit determined that officials there “did not establish effective internal controls” to ensure they were providing accurate information to state auditors, resulting in under-reporting. estimated expenses for several programs, including an understatement of COVID-19 relief fund expenses of $517,866.

Brown County also lacked an “appropriate system of internal controls” over health care benefit payments, according to the audit report. Payments to the county’s third-party administration to process health insurance claims and administrative fees “did not have a documented review and approval process to ensure that health insurance claims processed were for employees of the county”.

A Decatur County audit found similar issues with understating expenses for COVID-19 relief funds and other programs, as well as issues with bank reconciliations and “cash discoveries ranging from $282,584.” to $580,701” in the second half of 2020.

In Jennings County, an audit found officials underestimated or overestimated spending on several federal programs, ranging from an understatement of $198,636 to an overstatement of $47,045, according to state records. ‘State.

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