When Tebo was hired neither Heath, nor Tomlinson or She could figure out how to do simple accounting to pay Hamilton County

2015:
For Roads, Streets, Sewer Collection and Water Distribution the Town
has budgeted $13,000 into a sinking fund for future equipment
purchases. It is noted that Local Option Fuel Tax restricted revenue was
never a separate line item.

It was stated that in FY 2015-2016, the Town received $    118,653 
from Local Option Fuel Taxes but there was no separate line item for
LOFT funds

FY 2016/17
Although the Budget shows “Roads and Streets
Expense” there is no proof it was actually expended
because it was not a separate line item as a “restricted
fund” but part of the General Fund. Legal Expenses
were also taken from the restricted LOFT funds.
ROADS/STREETS EXPENSE
$ 10,976 Roads/Streets Salary
$ 840 Roads/Streets FICA
$ 16,000 Street Lighting (RECEIVED MONEY THROUGH A Shared GRANT- PAID
LESS THAN $4000 IN 2017)
$ 500 Road/Street Rentals
$ 3,061 Roads/Streets General Insurance
$ 3,000 Vehicle Maintenance
$ 50,022 Road/Streets Repairs/Maintenance (Does this mean there will be some real
work on those incessant potholes?) (NEVER HAPPENED)
$ 3,000 Roads/Streets Operating Supplies
$ 3,000 Roads/Streets Fuel
$ 500 Uniforms
$ 1,000 Roads/Streets Signs
$ 2,000 Traffic Barricades
$ 93,899 TOTAL ROADS/STREETS EXPENSE (NO STREET REPAIRS WERE
ACCOMPLISHED)

It was stated that in FY 2016-2017, we received LOFT funds of
  $165,231                   

We were told that in 2016-2017 the Town Spent $93,000 on operations and capital for
roads and streets. However  no street and road work was done so it is believed that the
$93,000 related to the Jewett Street damage by flooding but the Town of White Springs had not paid for the work done by Hamilton County for a two year period after it was invoiced and for some reason, Joe contacted the County and asked about it and then the County demanded payment.

Hamilton County fixed Jewett Street after it washed out from flooding due to a hurricane
which dropped 30 inches of rain. The Town did not pay Hamilton County for two years
and finally Hamilton County was paid in 2016-2017. This was not money paid by the
Town but was money received from FEMA and another source for the full amount of the
road work. The Town received an invoice with a full breakdown of what was done by
Hamilton County but the Town did not place a payable to a line item to pay Hamilton
County and spent the FEMA money for items required out of the General Fund. Once
Hamilton County required payment, two years after the work was done, $55,000 had to be
taken out of our Enterprise Account (Sewer and Water) to pay Hamilton County, since the
money was gone and not held in a payable account.

We attended the special meeting of August 3, 2015, regarding the $92,662
which we owe Hamilton County for the Jewett Street project. We are
correct in that FEMA paid White Springs that amount for the claim and the
money was not earmarked for Hamilton County but spent out of the general
fund just like making the Loft funds a “slush” fund rather than a “restrictive” fund. 
Former Mayor Miller also referred to the fact that in the Powell and Jones
Audit, the $92,662 came in and then the audit showed that the $92,662
went out, so it looked like it had been paid or why did the auditor not catch
that when processing the operating budget?

But wait, the Auditor Richard C. Powell CPA forwarded an August 7, 2015 letter to the Mayor and Town Council:

“This will address questions regarding the reporting of FEMA grant funds totaling $92,662 in the audit report for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2014.  At the time of our audit fieldwork, the Tow had received and recorded these grant funds in the General Fund.  However, the Town had not recorded the corresponding amount due to Hamilton County to reflect that the County had paid for the grant expenditures of $92,662 on behalf of the Town. We were not provided this information during the audit probably because a formal invoice had not been sent to the Town by the County and entered into the Town’s record.
Thus, the original audit reflected the grant revenue, but did not reflect the grant expenditures in the financial statements.  We have corrected this matter and have reissued the Town’s financial report.  The grant schedule on page 54 was correct on both the original and reissued reports since grant expenditures equal to the grant were incurred by the Town during the fiscal year, they were just not paid during the year.
The Financial Statement Preparation finding on page 55 is a reqired disclosure finding under Government Auditing Standards.  This funding basically states that the Town does not have a professional accountant on staff capable of preparing the financial statements and notes disclosures and thus our office prepared these on behalf of the Town.  This finding is contained in substantially all of our smaller cities and non-profit audit reports ad to date has not been viewed negatively by the Auditor General or other regulatory agencies.

 

We appreciate the Town staff bringing this full grant transaction to our attention so that we could properly reflect it in the Town’s audit report.  We also very much appreciate working with the town on the annual audit and other financial matters.”

This is Hamilton County’s Invoice which was forwarded to Pam Tomlinson, Finance Director for payment once the work was done.  It states invoice but is not a simple one short invoice paper by reason it is required that a contractor, in this case the County, is required to provide a breakdown of the cost of everything which was done for which a total amount due was developed.  Now this was not done by Bill Lawrence, then Shirley Heath was interim Town Manager and did nothing about it.  Enter Stacy Tebo, and she did not know how to handle the transaction and likewise had to call Louie Goodin in from the County to assist in order that a check could be made for the amount due two years prior.

And You’ll never guess what was said by Pam Tomlinson when council woman Helen Miller inquired about why the invoice had not been paid.  It was Pam who did not recognize the following as being an invoice.  She then said, “Well since I didn’t get a bill, I thought the county was going to do the work for free”.  Isn’t it nice that they get money from FEMA and like the LOFT funds they do not separate it as a payable to the County; then they spend $55,000 of the money and have to take it out of the Sewer and Water Enterprise Account.  No one could believe the ignorance of our Town Managers but specifically our “Financial Director” who not only does not have accounting and finance experience (yes they are each separate data) but who do not have deductive reasoning to figure out simple mathematical procedures.

 

And to assure Florida State Officials that the Town did not spend the $92,662 on Streets and Roads from LOFT funds we provided them with the aforementioned explanation, but not the Auditor’s letter, which we will hold should additional information be required under the LOFT misuse complaints.

 

Karin for the blog

Leave a Reply