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Center Township Audit Identifies $11,838 in Overpayments
Columbus – Center Township’s (Columbiana County) fiscal officer and three trustees were paid at higher rates than their annual budget allowed, resulting in overpayments totaling $11,838, according to an audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“Township officials’ salaries are set by statute – no less, no more,” Auditor Yost said. “I’m happy to see the money was repaid quickly.”
The Ohio Revised Code lists the rates at which township fiscal officers and trustees may be paid based on their annual budget. Auditors noted that in 2013 and 2014, the township’s three trustees and fiscal officer were compensated at the $1,500,000 - $3,500,000 level rather than the $750,000 - $1,500,000 level they should have used.
Findings for recovery in the amount of $2,060 each were issued against Trustees Joseph Csonka, Kenneth Schreffler and Gregory Shire. An additional finding for recovery in the amount of $5,658 was issued against Fiscal Officer Rebecca Tolson. The trustees and fiscal officer repaid the full amounts during the course of the audit.
In addition, the trustees’ annual salaries were paid 100 percent from the gas tax, road and bridge, and road levy funds in both 2013 and 2014. Attendance at board meetings and other activities supporting the general business of the township must be allocated to the general fund; therefore, the allocation of 100 percent of a township elected official’s compensation to funds other than the general find is not permitted under Ohio law.
This method of payment was not approved via resolutions; however, officials maintained signed certification forms indicating the amount of time spent working on projects around the township. Adjustments for the trustees’ salaries and benefits were proposed and made to the financial statements and accounting records to reflect the recorded amounts of time spent conducting general township business.
A full copy of this audit 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.