County audit adds up for MDOT; Lower Woodville Road project back on deck

Published 12:13am Thursday, October 3, 2013

NATCHEZ — Adams County is back in the good graces of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

MDOT had suspended funding projects in the county because the county’s audit for fiscal year 2012 — which was due June 30 — was not completed in time. Any county or municipality receiving more than $500,000 in federal funding faces such a suspension if its audit process is not completed nine months after the end of the previous fiscal year.

County Administrator Joe Murray said at the time that the audit was not completed because work on the matter by the independent auditor did not start in time. Only seven of 82 Mississippi counties completed their audits by the July deadline.

The final audit dated Sept. 16 has been accepted by the state auditor’s office, and Adams County Board of Supervisors’ President Darryl Grennell said Wednesday he received a letter from MDOT reinstating the county’s funding.

The county can now move forward with a bridge project on Lower Woodville Road that was sidelined due to the suspension of funds, Grennell said.

“We are in good shape,” he said.

While the audit — prepared by certified public accountant D. Scott Neiman of McComb — was accepted by the state auditor’s office, it has findings that the auditor classified as material weaknesses, including a number of county assets that were improperly inventoried or were never placed on the inventory.

The county’s response stated the discrepancy was due in part to a personnel change in the inventory clerk’s department, but “the newly appointed clerk has worked diligently in correcting these problems” and the clerk “will continue work to correct these problems and will resolve all of the noted findings.”

The audit also found incomplete bank reconciliations and in a separate finding stated the county is at risk for inaccurate financial reporting because its personnel do not have the “skills and training to apply generally accepted accounting principles in recording the entity’s financial transactions.”

The county’s response includes that the discrepancies with the bank reconciliations are being investigated and “a reconciliation will not be signed off on again without it being properly completed.”

The response also states that Adams County is actively seeking outside resources to aid in the compiling of financial statements.

“Either we are going to employ someone who will come in and do that in the (bookkeeping) department itself or we will contract with a CPA firm to do the financial statements and then hire a separate CPA firm to do the audit,” Adams County Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne said.

The auditors themselves have heretofore completed the financial statements for the audits, he said.

The county will receive bids next week for someone to prepare financial statements for the county and auditor.

“The state audit department feels they need to be separated, so we will have one group do the financial statements and one group do the audit,” O’Beirne said.