County auditors ask for more time

Company will need at least 30 more days to complete review

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The Altoona company that annually audits Blair County’s financial records has advised county leaders of the need for more time to complete this year’s audit, which is typically finished by May 31.

The general fund, payroll fund and prison funds are not yet being reconciled through the Munis accounting system the county acquired to update and improve the recording of revenue and expenses. Instead, they’re being reconciled based on procedures in place prior to the Munis purchase.

“There’s no way we’re going to be completed with the audit by May 31,” auditor David Scott of Young, Oakes, Brown & Co. told commissioners Tuesday morning.

He said his firm will need an additional 30 days and maybe even more.

But an extension greater than 30 days isn’t an option, county leaders responded.

“That would be a violation of our bond agreement,” solicitor Nathan Karn said.

Treasurer James Carothers told commissioners that 55 of the county’s 66 funds are “completely balanced” through the end of 2018 and that all funds are appropriately “reconciled” based on prior procedures.

But there are timing issues that surface when trying to use the Munis system to reconcile the accounts, Carothers said, making it “impossible” to arrive at the desired end result of “zero.”

For audit purposes, Scott said he is looking for each month’s records to be “reconciled to zero” through use of the Munis system.

Controller A.C. Stickel said he provided information to the treasurer’s office that should address the timing issues.

If that’s sufficient, commissioners Chairman Bruce Erb suggested asking other governmental agencies with Munis systems how they are doing it.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel here,” Erb said.

The county has to do some more work, Scott said, before his company can complete the audit with the permissible 30-day extension.

“And it’s going to be tough on us, too, because of the shortness of time,” Scott said.

County Administrator Helen Schmitt suggested regular monitoring, at least weekly, on efforts to resolve the issues. It’s likely, she added, that Young, Oakes & Brown will be adjusting their contract price for auditing services, especially if they use more staff to finish on time.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.