Comptroller: Van Buren County audit finds ‘concerns, problems’

Posted at 1:29 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 14:29:57-05

SPENCER, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Tennessee Comptroller's Office says an audit of Van Buren County has found several problems and concerns.

This year’s report card for the fiscal year ended on June 30. Auditors made nine findings in this year’s report and say six of those were noted in last year’s audit.

The comptroller’s office says the findings show concerns related to the county government’s handling of financial matters, including cash overdrafts, failure to solicit competitive bids, unapproved contracts, expenditures exceeding appropriations, and several purchasing deficiencies.

Auditors say they also pointed out serious concerns with how beginning fund balances were presented to the county commission.

“In several cases, the actual amount of money in multiple county funds was well below the amount provided on documents to the county commission. County officials need accurate information to make good decisions,” according to a release from the comptroller’s office.

The Comptroller’s Office says it’s been working with Van Buren County to keep the county from experiencing continued financial distress, and county officials have been sending weekly financial reports to the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Finance.

“Van Buren County officials are well aware of the need to stabilize the county’s financial condition,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson. “It’s also vitally important to improve the county’s financial management. It is particularly concerning to me that the county’s audit committee did not even meet to review last year’s audit. It is time for county leaders to take serious and necessary action.”