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Audit Findings

Posted on 31st December 2013 at 16:51

The Washington State Auditor’s Office is calling out Cowlitz County, reporting that the county “did not spend restricted funds appropriately” after the state conducted its latest review. The Auditor’s Office announced its findings yesterday, following up on a 2011 report that said that the county improperly spent more than $232,000 in Building and Planning revenues for legal costs connected to enforcement issues regarding a private landfill. County officials say that they will consider repayment of those funds, once the legal proceedings have concluded. State officials also say that they found that the county used more than $40,000 in Risk Management funds to help pay for construction of the County Shooting Range. They say those dollars should have come from the Public Shooting Range Fund. The county says that the state “mischaracterizes” the payment, and says that those funds were appropriately used to settle a claim. The Auditor takes issue with four loans taken out of the Solid Waste Fund, including $392,000 to the Public Facilities District and $245,000 to the Shooting Range, apparently with no plan for repayment. The county “respectfully disagrees” with the Auditor on this finding, saying that state law makes no reference to a payment schedule. The county also says that all loans have specified repayment dates, and they say that Cowlitz County has never failed to re-pay a loan. In its final remarks, the Auditor says that they “appreciate” the county’s perspective, but they re-affirm the findings, also planning to follow up in the next audit.