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Liberty Township Placed in Fiscal Caution
Columbus – Incorrect fund use prompted Auditor of State Dave Yost today to place Liberty Township (Trumbull County) in a state of fiscal caution.
“You can’t rob the police and fire funds to balance your general fund budget,” Auditor Yost said. “Liberty Township needs to get serious about putting its finances in order. This is an opportunity to address their issues before they get worse.”
A review of Liberty Township’s 2010 and 2011 audited financial statements found that the township had significant deficiencies, material weaknesses and direct and material noncompliance with Ohio law. The township expended $85,304 from the Police District Fund and $161,388 from the Fire District Fund to pay debt obligations of the General Fund and the 911 Communication Fund, which violates Ohio Revised Code § 5705.10(H). There also were incorrect fund balance adjustments made when paying for the costs of the township’s telecommunications center. Finally, the township failed to repay findings for adjustment noted in the 2008-2009 audit. Had the township made these adjustments, the General Fund would have a negative cash fund balance of $313,110 as of December 31, 2011.
The Auditor of State’s guidelines for a declaration of fiscal caution include (1) unauditable financial records; (2) significant deficiencies, material weaknesses, direct and material noncompliance as disclosed in the financial audit; (3) deficit fund balances; (4) a carryover fund balance of less than one month’s average expenditures for two consecutive years, and (5) a failure to reconcile accounting journals and ledgers with the treasury.
Under the declaration and in accordance with Revised Code 118.025(A), the township has 60 days to submit to the Auditor of State a plan to correct the conditions that led to the declaration of fiscal caution. The Auditor of State may visit and inspect the entity while under fiscal caution and may provide technical assistance to the entity in implementing proposals to eliminate the conditions that prompted the fiscal caution declaration.
A full copy of this fiscal caution declaration may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 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.