Council calls in state for special audit

Published 10:19 am Thursday, May 30, 2013

COAL GROVE — Representatives from the Ohio Auditor of State have been analyzing the financial records of the Village of Coal Grove for more than four weeks, trying to determine the state of the village’s finances.

Mayor Larry McDaniel said the audit was requested by the village council after multiple late payments of bills and insurance.

“We are kind of operating in the dark,” McDaniel said. “We didn’t know how much money we had, what bills have been paid. We are still operating as normal as we can, but it seems like there wasn’t any money when we got our financial reports. We felt like there should have been more money.”

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Mike Maurer, spokesman for state auditor Dave Yost, said it is the policy for his office not to discuss ongoing audits. As such, McDaniel said he and the council will not know much of what is going until the final report is released. That should be sometime within the next two weeks, he said.

Normally the state audits government entities once a year if it has more than $300,000 in federal grant money expenditures a year.

If it has less than $300,000 the audit is only done every two years. That is the way it typically is for most of the villages in the county.

Lawrence County is audited every year and costs the county between $60,000 to $65,000 for each audit.

The state is charging Coal Grove $41 an hour for this special audit.

Diana Wise the village’s clerk-treasurer, said she does not know why the council requested the audit, but looks forward to the chance to learn from the situation.

“I am learning how to better do my paperwork, file things the way they should be in a proper manner and learn from what I may have done wrong,” Wise said. “I appreciate the help the auditors are giving me.”

Wise said the auditors have asked her many questions over the past few weeks. If they cannot find certain paperwork, or see that something has been done incorrectly, she said they ask her where it is or tell her what she can do to fix it.

McDaniel said he was told the audit is nearing its conclusion. Then the information will go to a head auditor for review before the final report is released.

Wise was elected over incumbent Debbie Fields in the November 2011 general election. She was sworn into office March 2012.