Boyle County Sheriff Marty Elliott says deficiencies noted in a state audit report of his office’s tax settlement largely have been addressed.
The auditor’s comments were in a report released last month on the 2010 tax settlement for receipts from April 2010 to April 2011. The report noted instances where tax receipts on daily reports did not agree with daily deposit reports and cited inadequate review of cash receipts.
The major finding was that mortgage payments were not recorded in a timely manner.
Elliott and Connie Smith, who manages the taxing function within the office, said they already have worked with the auditors to find out how the issue with mortgage payments occurred.
According to Smith, the problem arose when someone entering the checks from a mortgage company into the computer system accidentally skipped a section of the checks and the final balance was inaccurate.
Smith said she caught the error the same night but was unable to back out the payment and re-enter the information. The corrected payment information could not be recorded until the next month, Smith said.
When the error occurred in November 2010, Elliott said the office was going through its busiest time. He said the office takes in about 90 percent of its tax receipts, currently about $10 million, during November.
Smith said the office has stopped processing the mortgage company payments at the front counter, and the new website with tax information has eliminated issues with overpayments from mortgage companies in general. She said November 2011 went by without any problems.
In addition to the law enforcement responsibilities, the sheriff's department is charged with collecting taxes and providing services for the court system. Elliott said he would like to separate the tax collection completely from the rest of the office's functions, but the staffing levels and the actual small size of the office make it virtually impossible to do at this point.
Elliott noted this is the first full tax audit of his office, with the 2009 tax settlement representing a combination of receipts and operations from his administration and the previous administration of LeeRoy Hardin. He said there has been a learning curve, but overall he is pleased with the direction of the office.
Elliott also said the new technology in place and the experience the staff has gained will help avoid similar problems in the future.
"We welcome the auditors, and we look at it not as they are trying to find something wrong, but that they can help us learn and get better at this," Elliott said.