Bell Co. Sheriff’s Office receives clean audit

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Bell County Sheriff’s Office audit was about as clean as it could get. State Auditor Mike Harmon recently released the audit of the 2018 financial statements for Bell Sheriff Mitch Williams and found no instances of noncompliance. He also noted no matters involving internal control over financial reporting and its operations that were considered to be material weaknesses.

“We’ve got a good staff right now. Each year that you do them you learn a little bit more,” said Williams. “(You get) to where you can be more comfortable preparing for them, so that helps a lot.”

Williams said having a clean audit coincides with having a great crew.

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“They really work for that stuff. The more they do it, the more they learn,” said the sheriff. “It all turned out pretty well. It’s hard to get a good one, but when you do…you credit it to the employees that you have.”

Auditing standards require the auditor’s letter to communicate whether the financial statement presents fairly the receipts, disbursements and excess fees for the sheriff’s department in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.

According to the release, the sheriff’s financial statement did not follow this format, but it was fairly presented in conformity with the regulatory basis of accounting — which is an acceptable reporting methodology. That reporting method is followed for all 120 sheriff audits in Kentucky.

State law requires the auditor to annually audit the accounts of each county sheriff. Incompliance with this law, the auditor issues two sheriff’s reports each year — one reporting on the audit of the sheriff’s tax account and the other reporting on the audit of the fee account used to operate the office.

The sheriff’s responsibilities include collecting property taxes, providing law enforcement and performing services for the county fiscal court and courts of justice. The sheriff’s office is funded through statutory commissions and fees collected in conjunction with these duties.

A full copy of the audit can be found on the auditor’s website.