Davison commissioners referee treasurer, auditor argumentDisagreement ongoing over how to balance county's books each month.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Interdepartmental communication, or lack thereof, was the hot issue Tuesday at the courthouse as the county commissioners refereed disagreements between Treasurer Brenda Veldheer and Auditor Susan Kiepke over office procedure.
The auditor’s office issues a monthly statement of accounts to the commissioners showing the cash on deposit with the treasurer. The statement for April showed a cash balance of $12,955,841.27, an amount that reflects that month’s large tax collections.
The problem was a shortfall of $26.55 listed as an “unexplained variance.” Kiepke told the commissioners that a pattern of such small discrepancies has occurred on a regular basis, and it proves an annoyance when balancing county books.
Veldheer, Kiepke said, should ask her office to issue a check if her accounts are short, or, if her account has too much cash, she should issue a statement explaining the extra.
Commissioners John Claggett and Kim Weitala invited Veldheer to explain her side.
Veldheer said there are no unexplained variances. She said discrepancies occasionally occur when taxpayers inadvertently misread statements and overpay or underpay their taxes. She told commissioners she can pinpoint the transaction that triggered the shortfall.
“We do reconcile accounts on a daily basis,” she said. Problems usually occur at the end of the month when accounts don’t always reconcile correctly. An overage or shortfall one month will usually resolve the next month, she said. Given the millions of dollars handled by her office, Veldheer said “there are times when things like this happen.”
She said that at the end of a heavy business month like April, it’s unreasonable to expect accounts to be reconciled by noon on the first of the month.
Kiepke insisted that state auditors “were very clear that accounts must balance to the penny every month.”
Veldheer complained that on several occasions she has been unable to get a check from the auditor’s office to balance a shortfall. Deputy Auditor Karen Knadle, who maintains the county books, countered that checks are not always requested in a timely fashion and checks can’t be issued retroactively to balance an account.
“The point we’re making is that any anomalies in accounts need to be substantiated for our auditors,” Claggett said after the meeting.
Claggett said the commission may discuss the establishment of clearer interdepartmental guidelines to make sure state and county needs are met.
Commissioner Gerald Weiss was ill and did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Gave Register of Deeds Deb Young approval for the continued hire of Danielle Koupal as a part-time work study student.
• Approved a motion approving a change to overtime policy for sheriff’s deputies Steve Harr, Tim Reitzel and Ben Gant to time worked over 80 hours in a two-week period. The change standardizes the overtime policy in the sheriff’s office for all personnel. Previously, the deputies only received overtime pay if they worked more than 171 hours in a 28-day period.
• Gave Chief Deputy Steve Brink permission to upgrade the department’s five Taser stun guns to the new X-2 model at cost of $6,588, including additional cartridges.
• Approved a malt beverage license for the upcoming Heroes’ Field Demolition Derby.
• Were told by Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg that road crews have used the county’s Asphalt Zipper to grind up two miles of Betts Road as part of a road reconstruction project. Five more miles must be done on Betts as well as two miles on 247th Street between 403rd and 405th avenues.
Weinberg said construction will begin on the rebuilding of 265th Street (Highway 41) between 398th and 399th avenues. The project was originally scheduled for an October completion, but good weather could reduce that time, Weinberg said.
• Commissioner Jerry Fischer said the utilities survey has been completed on the Central Electric building, which will help in the redesign of the interior. It is unclear at this time if vinyl asbestos floor tile will have to be removed. A May 31 design meeting has been scheduled with Puetz Corp. officials. The county is buying the building, which Central Electric is vacating, to house the county health nurses, a meeting room and storage.