State Audit Finds Errors With Town’s Funds

A routine biennial audit of the town of Crothersville by the Indiana State Board of Accounts cites a variety of bookkeeping, office management and payroll errors going back to 2007, including funds placed in wrong town accounts, over payment of payroll, not reconciling bank statements to balances each month, and failing to deposit water, sewer and police education funds.
Town Clerk-treasurer NaLona Bush was requested to pay $665.10 back to the Law Enforcement Continuing Education Fund, Water Utility-Operating, Water Utility-Customer Deposit and Wastewater Utility-Operating for collections that were never deposited. The money was repaid June 2.
The audit report, released last week, is the second in Jackson County to find financial irregularities in town government. An audit of the town of Brownstown also uncovered bookkeeping and financial errors.
The audit in Crothersville showed over 140 instances where receipts were deposited as many as 29 days after the collection date. State law says that funds must be deposited no later than the next business day following the receipt of the funds.
Several instances showed money being transferred, deposited and placed in the wrong town fund account. One case involved $10,000 deposited into the wrong account in 2007, but not corrected until June 1, 2010.
The audit revealed $334,353.94 incorrectly placed in the Wastewater Utility-Operating Fund that should have been in the Town Payroll Fund. Bush re-deposited the amount into the correct account on June 1 of this year.
Bush, who is also the town’s utility clerk, was cited in the audit as having been overpaid for her work time.
Utility office employees are required to work 36 hours per week during office hours—8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday.
The audit report said, “the Utility Clerk claimed that she worked eight hours on each Wednesday, when actually she only worked four hours. The Utility Clerk was always paid a minimum of 40 hours each week.”
Bush told auditors that the additional four hours of pay was for the time she either came in early or worked late, even though time records did not reflect what days this occurred. “She stated that, for simplicity purposes, she just recorded eight hours worked each day to avoid overtime issues,” the audit reported.
The audit showed the town was charged penalties because of late payments for state and county tax withholdings, unemployment contributions and utility receipts along with under collecting sale tax charging 6 percent instead of 7 percent for the filing period ending March 31, 2008. The utility underpaid sales tax to the state by $282.16, auditors claimed.
Other audits finds include:
•Failure to properly file the town’s annual report with the State Board of Accounts.
•Monthly bank records not reconciled to actual balances.
•Personal expenses paid by the water utility for beverages, snack foods, eating utensils, candles, aspirin and antacids.
•Using credit cards without an approved credit card policy during the audit period. However, the town council reviewed and approved a credit card policy at their most recent July meeting.