A financial audit the Grafton Township board ordered in February to review its records in the 2010-2011 fiscal year concluded that the township lacks some of the internal controls necessary to prevent, track and correct financial misstatements in a timely fashion.
The audit results were released Thursday night at a special township meeting. Trustees accepted the results and hired another auditor to analyze the township's finances for the fiscal years ending in 2012 and 2013. That process will cost $16,000 and should be completed by the end of May.
Outgoing Township Supervisor Linda Moore called the special meeting in hopes of avoiding fines from the state that will kick in May 1 for being more than 45 days late in submitting certain financial documents.
According to a letter from the state comptroller's office, the township will be fined $20 daily because it has not submitted its annual audits for the fiscal years ending in 2011 and 2012, its annual report for the fiscal year 2012, and its road/bridge budget. The grace period ends April 30.
The township is financially strapped due to the roughly $600,000 in legal fees it has spent on lawsuits between Moore and the board, the road commissioner and Moore, and the assessor and Moore.
The board is hoping to fix the township finances by securing a bank loan, but Moore said three banks turned the township down because it wasn't up-to-date on its audits.
The audit, completed by Evans, Marshall & Pease, P.C., recommended 10 ways the township could strengthen internal controls. Among those ideas were monthly financial statements being presented to the board for review, that one person sign the checks, that the township use purchase orders, and that bills presented for approval also have proper documentation for review and inspection.
"This is all the stuff we've been complaining about for four years," Trustee Barbara Murphy said.
Trustee Betty Zirk said she found nearly two dozen errors in the audit and will bring them to the auditor's attention. Among the most glaring:
• The original and final budget amount should be $9,000, not $8,000.
• The actual amount listed for office equipment should say $540, rather than zero.
• Under equipment, the actual figure should say $58,817, not $32,026, because the tractor lease payment of $24,895 and several other equipment payments were not included in the total.
Zirk and Murphy allege that the numbers are wrong because Moore gave the wrong figures to the auditor.
Moore disputes that notion.
"The auditors had copies of all the financial documents and it was up to them to determine what was correct and what was incorrect," Moore said, adding that the purpose of the audit was to find mistakes.