Errors Lead to $106,916 in Charges to Metropolitan Sewer District
Columbus – The City of Cincinnati erroneously charged the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati $106,916, according to a financial audit of the sewer district released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost. Nearly half of the amount was related to payroll expenses for city employees not associated with MSD.
As the fiscal agent for MSD, the city is responsible for collecting and maintaining sewer district funds. During 2015, the city improperly charged MSD $46,311 for payroll expenses related to 12 Cincinnati Police Department employees. The city identified the charges, made during pay periods 3, 15, 24, and 25, and adjusted them to the proper fund, with the exception of $682 from pay periods 3 and 25. MSD was unaware of the charges until they were identified by auditors.
“The fact that this error went undetected by MSD on four separate occasions is cause for concern,” Auditor Yost said. “The City of Cincinnati and the sewer district have a duty to taxpayers to prevent the public purse strings from getting tangled in a knot.” In a response to the audit finding, MSD indicated it will enhance its internal audit process.
During pay period 14, the city charged MSD an additional $1,939 for payroll expenses related to a city Stormwater Management Utility employee. A separate error led to a $58,666 charge to MSD for engineering services, one of several services the sewer district shares with the city. According to the audit, the charge stemmed from MSD using an incorrect percentage in a cost calculation.
Findings for recovery totaling $61,287 were issued against the City of Cincinnati. The city repaid the full amount to MSD via an interdepartmental billing during the course of the audit.
A separate special audit of MSD remains ongoing. As a matter of policy, no additional information will be available until the special audit is complete and released to the public.
A full copy of the financial audit report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.