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Ironton receives clean audit

Covered fiscal year 2017

On Dec. 27, the Ironton Finance Department got back the results of a financial audit by the Ohio State Auditor’s Office, and it was very positive.

Finance Director John Elam said his office works hard to present the most accurate financial information that they can while remaining transparent in doing so.

“If there are ever any questions, we try to foresee what they may be and be prepared all the time,” he said.

The audit was for fiscal year 2017 and was done in accordance with Government Auditing Standards and considered the city’s internal control over financial reporting and the state’s tests of its compliance with certain provisions of laws, regulations, contracts and grant agreements and other matters.

“This is the first time in the 15 years I have been here that we had this good of an audit,” said Mayor Katrina Keith. “I commend you and your staff.”

She said she was “blown away” during the meeting with the auditors.

“We used to have line item after line item that we needed to address,” she said. “So to have something like this is a powerful statement. So kudos to you and your staff.”

The audit did not identify any deficiencies in internal control that the auditor’s office considers material weaknesses. It did take issue that the city filed financial statements prepared using the modified cash basis of accounting rather than following generally accepted accounting principles.

“It is amazing that an incoming finance director would turn it around and get a clean audit,” said Ironton City Council member Jim Tordiff. “The only thing that was mentioned in the audit they would like to see us, at the end of the year, to convert our books to modified accrual. But that had nothing to do with record keeping, that has to do with simply something council had decided not to do because of the expense of it.”

The auditor’s report recommended the city take the necessary steps to ensure that the annual financial report is prepared and filed on a generally accepted accounting basis.

The city’s response was that the finance director would strive to comply in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code for filing upon availability of financial resources.

Tordiff said that everything to do with record keeping and running the city was “A plus” in the report.

“I would like to recognize John, Johnda, Missy, Joan in the Finance Department,” he said. “Because if it hadn’t been for (council’s) decision to not let him do the GAP conversion at the end of the year, they would have received an Auditor of State’s award, which is a big deal.”

For 2017, Ironton’s general fund had $5,628,975 in receipts and $5,315,902 in disbursements. The general fund’s fund balance increased $352,083, a six percent increase over 2016.

Elam joked that over the past year, he has become quite proficient at using the word “no,” when departments asked for funds.

“The end result is that the public should have a lot of confidence in the Finance Department,” Tordiff said.

To read the full 85 page report, go to the Ohio Auditor of State’s website and search for Ironton under audits.