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Taylor Releases Village of Sparta Audit
Morrow County -
Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the audit of the village of Sparta for years 2003 through 2006. The audit contains 30 findings related to internal control deficiencies and noncompliance with Ohio law and identifies more than $3,500 in misspent tax dollars that must be repaid. The audit also reflects the theft of funds by the former village clerk/treasurer. The village is currently in fiscal emergency.
“Village officials are working with our office to improve financial oversight and accountability for the tax dollars they spend,” said Taylor. “This is a difficult process that will take time, but their hard work should positively impact the financial success of the village.”
Auditors found that the village lacked proper controls over certain financial transactions. For example, the village should:
• Adopt travel, credit card, cell phone and cash collection policies
• Implement computer back-up practices
• Require council to monitor financial activity
• Create a policy to ensure timely payments to vendors
In other areas, the village violated Ohio law. Specific problems reported:
• Not filing annual reports
• Not properly adopting a tax budget
• Not maintaining appropriate records
• Not keeping and properly approving resolutions and ordinances
The audit also reflects the impact of the village funds stolen by former village clerk/treasurer, Julianna Prince. From January 1, 2003 through February 28, 2006 Prince was responsible for the theft of $41,200. On December 1, 2006, she was convicted on charges of theft and forgery in the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas. As of November 5, 2007, Prince has repaid $30,000 to the village.
The village was declared in fiscal emergency on May 31, 2007 because of outstanding debt payments and deficit fund balances. The emergency determination was made as a result of a fiscal analysis conducted by the Auditor of State’s office.
When placed in fiscal emergency, a commission is appointed by the state to help the village regain financial stability. The commission is responsible for approving a plan that details solutions for eliminating the specific areas of concern noted in the emergency. The plan should also balance the budget and avoid future deficits. The village plan was presented to the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission on January 18, 2008 and adopted on January 28, 2008.
A copy of the full audit is available online at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSearch/Reports/2008/Village_of_Sparta_06-Morrow.pdf.