Taylor Releases Lawrence County Performance Audit

Report reveals potential deficit if status quo continues

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lawrence County -

Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the performance audit of Lawrence County. The report outlines several recommendations that, if fully implemented, could save taxpayers more than $1 million annually. Additionally, the report provides guidance to county officials about ways to improve critical services by using existing financial resources.

“County officials are working on the difficult task of reducing the county’s current financial burden but additional long-term solutions are needed to ensure that Lawrence County can achieve financial stability,” Taylor said.  “I encourage county officials to consider full implementation of the recommendations outlined in this report to assist them in their efforts.”

The county’s five-year financial forecast, created by the Auditor of State’s office for this audit, reveals a potential deficit of $86,000 in fiscal year 2008 that could grow to more than $3.6 million by 2012.

The performance audit of Lawrence County includes a comprehensive review of the county’s top 10 offices or departments that use the largest percentage of general fund tax dollars. Those offices include the board of commissioners, auditor’s office, sheriff’s office, recorder’s office, prosecutor’s office, court of common pleas, municipal court, clerk of courts, home detention and juvenile probation.

The strategies and recommendations presented in the report represent long-term, fundamental changes to the way Lawrence County has historically conducted business. The recommendations that county officials should consider in order to save more than $1,016,800 annually, include:

  • Developing a long-term, comprehensive strategic plan that defines futures goals and illustrates ways to improve the allocation of county funds
  • Renegotiating certain salary and benefit provisions throughout county government
  • Improving the process of identifying and applying for applicable federal and state grants
  • Reducing county jail costs by considering alternative sentencing options

The report also recommends the consolidation of several duplicate functions to reduce costs and improve consistency. Recommendations include establishing centralized, county-wide:

  • Purchasing processes
  • Human resources management
  • Internet and web services
  • Technology management

The Auditor of State’s performance audits report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations through peer comparisons and benchmarking to industry standards. A performance audit is a valuable tool for agencies seeking to improve operations, identify cost savings and improve the use of existing resources.

Since taking office, Taylor has released 41 performance audits outlining 1,794 recommendations for improvements. Those recommendations, if fully implemented, could result in potential cost savings of more than $83 million annually.

A copy of the complete audit is available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.