An audit released Thursday by the state auditor’s office shows deficiencies in Randolph County’s property tax system and late filings by the county’s public administrator.

Despite the issues noted in the regularly-scheduled audit, Randolph County received an overall rating of “good,” meaning the audit results illustrate the county is well-managed and has few findings. A “good” rating also indicates that the county is working to fix the errors listed in the audit and is the second best rating available.

Randolph County Presiding Commissioner John Truesdell said what the audit found was “absolutely nothing major.” Truesdell, who was pleased with the rating, said the commission has not solidified any changes to make in response to the audit, but will have conversations about concerns that were raised.

“If you’re viewing” the audit “as a horrific problem, that it is not,” he said.

Randolph County received a “fair” rating in 2013. A “fair” rating is a level below a “good” rating and means the audit found one or more findings that require immediate attention. An issue raised then concerning tax books was brought up again in the 2017 audit.

Procedures in the county’s property tax system need improvement, which also was pointed out in three previous audit reports, according to the most recent report. The Randolph County Collector’s Office processed $29.4 million in property tax payments and other dollars from the start of the year to Feb. 28.

The audit states that the county clerk’s office does not review the tax books, which needs verification of entries and additional calculating of the totals and charges listed in the books.

“Failure to perform adequate and documented reviews of the tax books may result in errors or irregularities going undetected,” the audit states.

The audit also points out that neither the county clerk nor the county commission review the collector’s financial activities, such as verifying the accuracy of the collector’s annual settlements.

By not reviewing the financial information, the audit states the county is susceptible to loss, theft or misuse of property tax dollars going unnoticed.

The 2013 audit showed that the county clerk wasn’t verifying the accuracy of the tax books and didn’t keep important records from the tax books that year, according to a press release from the state auditor’s office. The clerk’s office also did not check the accuracy of the collector’s annual statements, which was pointed out again in this year’s audit.

Randolph County Clerk Will Ellis said his office does verify taxes, but it is not done in the way preferred by the state auditor’s office.

The county clerk’s office is already making changes to comply with the audit, Ellis said, including implementing a new computer system that connects his office with the county collector and assessor offices to better track finances.

Previously, the county could not afford the computer system, he said. Documentation was all on paper and his office did not have the manpower to go through paperwork of three offices, Ellis said.

The county clerk’s office also does not keep leave records of Randolph County Sheriff’s Department employees, resulting in a deputy not being properly awarded leave time and another not having it correctly deducted. The county’s personnel policy doesn’t address unearned leave, resulting in some employees using too much compensatory time and causing negative compensatory leave balances.

Ellis said his office is required to pay the county’s 110 employees based on information from individual office holders. Truesdell said the county is implementing a new computerized payroll and accounting system that he hopes will better track employees’ time and payroll records.

“We know that our systems here were old and we’re trying to upgrade those systems and move on to a better end,” he said.

The Randolph County public administrator’s office also filed annual settlements more than 30 days late. Of the 78 cases reviewed, 74 cases were filed between nine and 356 days late, according to the audit.

The office also lacked documentation to show that wards were receiving their gift cards and prepaid debit cards.

In a response to the audit, the public administrator’s office states it will file annual settlements on time in the future and the other issue has been corrected by collecting ward’s signatures on check stubs and prepaid debit cards.

Randolph County Public Administrator Mary Jo Colley did not return calls for comment.

bruess@columbiatribune.com

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