Where’s the audit?

Published 10:11 am Monday, July 10, 2017

JACKSON – Despite passing the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year on June 27, the subject remained a hot topic of discussion during the Northampton County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Monday morning.

Commissioner Geneva Faulkner sparked the conversation during the regular July 3 meeting when she asked Finance Director Leslie Edwards for an update on the status of the county’s pending audit for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Edwards reported that she’s been in contact every day with the company performing the audit. She said they’re making progress, but it’s still not complete yet.

Faulkner and Charles Tyner both voted against passing the proposed budget during last week’s budget hearing, citing concerns about not yet receiving the audit information.

During Monday’s regular Board meeting, Tyner took the opportunity to air his concerns again while they were on the subject. He stated once more that he was worried because they were unable to take the audit information into consideration while formulating this year’s budget.

“I’m operating in the dark,” Tyner said as he addressed the county officials and citizens in attendance.

To Faulkner and Tyner’s concerns, Chairman Robert Carter responded by reminding the Board that “extenuating circumstances” had delayed the audit. He said he was confident that the staff were working hard to make sure everything was done correctly without mistakes.

“Please be patient,” Carter urged.

Faulkner also requested a timeline for the upcoming 2016-17 fiscal year audit, to which Edwards replied that their goal is to meet the December 31 deadline.

During Board comments at the conclusion of the meeting, Tyner again mentioned his disappointment with how the budget turned out this year.

“I want to apologize,” he said, expressing his dissatisfaction for issues such as being unable to give county employees a cost of living raise, and that some employees had such low annual earnings.

During Chairman Carter’s closing comments, he acknowledged that they weren’t able to do everything they wanted to with the budget, but they were doing what they could. He mentioned that they were trying to encourage economic development as much as possible and also working on bettering education for the residents of the county.

“What else can we do with what little we have?” Carter said.