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Jonesborough gets good news at year-end audit

The Town of Jonesborough received an unmodified opinion, considered the best opinion auditors can issue, for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2014.
Kevin Peters, with Blackburn, Childers and Steagall, PLC said the audit went very well.
During his presentation, Peters pointed out that the town has had a lot of grant activity through Rural Development and Community Development Block Grant over the year. He said when there is a lot of grant activity, there is a lot more compliance work that auditors have to do.
“That opinion is also unmodified, which is good,” he said of the grant activity compliance. “That’s something to be happy about. (It’s) a testament to the different departments.”
Town Administrator Bob Browning said the town has been pretty successful in the grant business and a lot of that has to do with the work that his staff does, as well as being able to properly document.
“It’s not just the administrator’s staff because when we are out there in the field, we do force account work,” Browning said of block grants. “We haven’t done a block grant in a long time except for the major sewer project and that was mainly contract work.”
Water lines are typically where town staff is responsible for force account work. The force account work, Browning said, is when the town is providing any matching requirements with the work of their own crews.
“When we submit an application to ECD, it’s not questioned,” Browning said. “They know we can do it and they know how we document it. The supervisors are out there and they have to document things in a certain way and we have a staff that really pays attention to that. That is really a critical issue in terms of being able to take advantage of the grant money out there.”
The audit only had one finding, the same area that was found during the past four previous years. The finding is considered a significant deficiency, which is less severe than material weakness, but important enough to merit attention.
According to the town’s agenda presentation, that finding is based on the Lowe’s Water Line Agreement, which has not been finalized with an exact amount owed. The finalization has been held until all the improvements under construction in water and sewer have been completed because it is unknown what the expenses will be. The balance will be clarified in the spring.
According to a recommendation made by Blackburn, Childers and Steagall, “The Town needs to obtain a final resolution and agreement regarding the Lowe’s water line payback terms. It is best practice to have an agreement with the stated agreement price, so that the town is aware of any additional liability that could be incurred.”
Other deficiencies in internal control that were found were purchasing procedures, audit adjustments, authorized signature cards, inventory counts and preparation of the schedules of expenditures of federal and state awards. These areas were highlighted to strengthen internal controls and its operating efficiency.
During Peters’ presentation he also highlighted financial statements, which included more than $14 million in governmental activities and more than $39 million in sewer funds. He said the town had a net position of $6.7 million in governmental activities and more than $21 million in net position for the water and sewer fund for a total of more than $27 million.