Village turns to state for help

SALINEVILLE – Council voted Monday to send the village’s financial books to Local Government Services (LGS), a division of the state auditor’s office, to be balanced.

The decision comes on the heels of Mayor Mary Smith announcing at a special meeting last Thursday that state auditors were unable to begin the village audit of the years 2012 and 2013 because the village’s books did not balance.

Smith said auditors were giving village officials 90 days to identify the difference and balance the village’s books. She said auditors advised the village it could enlist the help of LGS or a local accounting firm. Smith noted similar actions had to be taken during the 2010 and 2011 audit when the village books again did not balance.

Council briefly discussed having newly-hired Fiscal Officer Patti Gibson attempt to balance the books, but Gibson, who attended the meeting as part of her training for the position, declined, saying she had not even had a chance to look over the books.

Council decided it would be better to give Gibson time to acclimate herself to the position, and to outsource the balancing of the books.

“She’s going to be bombarded with everything else and we’ve got a budget coming up in July,” said Smith.

As for the difference, Smith said she could not cite an exact dollar amount. She noted that she had spoken with current Fiscal Officer Becky Tolson who told her that the problem likely lies in how items were posted in the village accounting system.

“Posting was not done properly or not at all,” said Smith.

Obtaining the services of LGS will cost the village $50 per hour, according to Smith. Some on council noted it would probably cost more to hire a private accounting firm to do the same work.