May 16—The newly hired county finance officer met with the Geary County Commission at its May 9 meeting to discuss funds after discovering funds were miscoded since the department changed payroll software this year.
Tami Robison, chief finance officer in March, found that additional compensation costs that were supposed to be paid out of the auto special fund were instead paid out of the county’s general fund. During the meeting, Robison said she did not know how long this had been happening, but on Friday she said she discovered after Monday’s meeting that the funds were coded incorrectly for a total of only three. pays.
“We changed payroll providers, so when we did it it was coded the same way as before, but before when they used ADP they made manual entries in the financial system, because the two can’t interface,” she said. “They were taking that code and fixing it in the financial system.
Robison said that when they switched providers, staff members no longer made these manual corrections. Now that she is aware of the issue, she said the department is working to resolve it so that the funds are recorded as coming from the correct department.
“It’s this year that we’re fixing it, so it doesn’t create a violation of the law — we’re preventing it — because it’s the same year,” she said. “We’re going to do a journal entry to fix this, and that way when we get to the end of the year when we’re done with our finances, it will be accurate.”
Robison said the Treasurer’s additional compensation is calculated based on the number of registrations received, so it must be paid from the Automotive Special Fund.
Commissioner Trish Giordano said the oversights were a key reason she felt a finance officer was needed for the county.
“That’s exactly why I felt this position was necessary, because you know the statutes and you know how things are supposed to be run, and we’re responsible for taxpayers’ money,” Giordano said during the interview. meeting.
Additionally, Robison said she would change the budgeting process for paying employee benefits. The county’s previous process involved paying benefits from a benefits fund. Robison said Friday that she is working with County Treasurer Sherri Childs and the payroll clerk to ensure that all employee benefits come from each employee’s department. This way, they can completely remove the employee provident fund.
“Because of that, these different departments that pay salaries are going to have to be able to absorb those costs into their budgets, which means we have to increase the budgets,” she said.
Robison said the motor vehicle fund is funded through fees, but departmental benefits were paid for out of the employee benefits fund and not as a reimbursed cost like other fee funds. She said they are adjusting that to also go through the special automobile fund.
With department employee costs now coming from motor vehicle expenses, Robison said the department did not have enough funds for the number of salaries it was supposed to fund. She said that since fees are stagnating, the department cannot absorb the additional costs.
“They don’t have enough funds to pay for all the services, and the state doesn’t help fund that much,” she said. “They have to pay us more fees, but they don’t, so all of this has a domino effect on ad valorem tax money, because we’re funding things that are actually a service of the state.”
Robison said the net effect of the problem is that some salaries will have to come from the treasurer’s fund because the automotive special fund simply doesn’t have enough money to fund it.
“There are several places where the state no longer funds us, and now the county just has to fund it because it’s a county service or something the state requires,” she said.
Commissioner Keith Ascher told the meeting that the commission should send lawmakers a letter about the situation. Giordano accepted. Ascher said they should find out how much the county subsidizes what the state doesn’t claw back and add those numbers to the letter.
“When you’re looking at trying to cut taxes and people look to you to cut taxes or keep them flat, anyway, when you have those kinds of burdens it makes it very difficult,” he said. Robison said. “Just let the public know that part of the burden they bear to pay these costs goes beyond even the local level that we are required to help fund.”