Overall, the county’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which was compiled by state auditing officials, named the county a “low-risk auditee” and said there were “no instances of noncompliance that were material to the financial statements of Bradley County.”
“It has been shown that Bradley County’s accounting standards are current and something to be proud of,” County Mayor D. Gary Davis said.
Only four findings were listed on the audit as matters needing to be addressed.
The findings on the audit included overspending on the county budget and a personnel issue that resulted in a loss of more than $3,000.
The first was that “several county departments violated the county’s credit card policy.” It described a desired system in which county employees must submit signed receipts and other such documentation for purchases.
Davis said the audit’s recommendation is not something the county currently requires. While employees must turn in receipts for the purchases they make, they do not always have signatures.
Receipts don’t currently have to be signed, but Davis said the county may be looking into the requirement in the future.
The second finding was the “expenditures exceeded appropriations approved by the County Commission in the Other Charges major appropriation category of the General Fund by $8,010.”
Davis said the County Commission actually voted for an amendment to the budget that added $10,000 in June, but it did not show up on the audit. He said the county would plan for a larger budget next time.
The third finding concerned a county employee buying personal items with county funds.
Over the summer, former county finance clerk Renee Munn was indicted on charges of theft and official misconduct for stealing from the county by purchasing items with county funds and having them shipped to her home. According to the audit, the value of the items totaled $3,314.
Davis said the county was able to recover some of the items and send them back to the company for refunds, and the county’s budget did not suffer because of the incident. However, he said the incident was a good reminder for all the other employees going forward.
“It reminded everyone this isn’t allowed,” Davis said. “That won’t be tolerated.”
The last finding was the “duties were not segregated adequately” at the offices of ambulance services and the offices of clerk and master and probate court clerk.
“Officials and employees responsible for maintaining accounting records were also involved in receipting, depositing and/or disbursing funds,” the audit read.
Davis said the ambulance services office did not have enough staff to be able to segregate its duties, but the county would be looking into rectifying the matter in other offices.
He said he believed in most cases the findings were “suggestions for doing things better” rather than concrete rules that have to be enforced right away.
Despite the findings, Davis said the county has been working toward the goal of paying off its debts. However, the addition of some new capital projects added more debt to the county right after making a large payment toward settling a different debt.
“We decreased the debt by $3.8 million,” Davis said.
However, he said the county shortly thereafter borrowed more money to pay for the three new county fire stations that were built this summer, bringing the actual amount of debt reduction down to $1,099,156.
Davis called the fire stations “a valuable investment” to the community because the continued growth of the area’s population has upped the odds of firefighters needing to use them.
The county’s long-term capital debt remained at $73,664,265 at the end of the fiscal year.
The local government entity’s combined fund balances for the end of the year totaled $44,908,399.