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Audit reveals few problems with county accounting

  Plumas County passed its annual audit and any hiccups that were uncovered have already been stifled.

  Norm Newell, representing the accounting firm of Smith & Newell, presented the fiscal year 2012 audit to the Board of Supervisors on April 2.

  Newell told the supervisors that the audit is a procedural overview of accounting practices and not an analysis of how the county is doing financially.

  “It just means the figures are accurate,” Newell told the supervisors.

  The audit did uncover some areas that needed to be corrected, and those have been addressed.

  For example, animal shelter personnel had been accepting cash and then writing personal checks to the county.

  “They are not supposed to take cash at all,” Plumas County Treasurer Julie White said. The practice came to her attention when she noticed that one individual wrote 10 checks.

  “It all began because volunteers were taking cash,” Supervisor Lori Simpson said.

  Auditor Roberta Allen said that proper procedures are now in place.

  One area that is still being rectified is landfill insurance. While the county carries insurance for the landfill, it doesn’t cover pollution protection.

  Allen said the county was working on obtaining the insurance.

  Newell also noted that the county has yet to begin funding post-retiree health benefits, which stand at $4 million to date.

  In a follow-up interview, Allen said that the county is aware of the unfunded liability and has set up an account to begin receiving funds. She said that’s an important step because it shows that the county is trying to meet the obligation. “Unfunded health benefits could affect our bond ratings,” Allen said.

  Newell also reported on the treasury oversight audit and complimented Treasurer White and her department.

  “Overall they do a good job, a very good job,” he said.

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