Howell addresses audit issue

By TAYLOR M. LIER
Staff Writer

HOWELL — Municipal officials have taken action to address an issue that came to light in an annual audit of Howell’s finances.

The Township Council at its meeting on Oct. 21 approved a corrective action plan relating to the December 2013 audit report.

At the same time, the council passed a resolution certifying that the members of the governing body had reviewed the audit, its findings and the recommendations that were made by the township auditor.

The item singled out for action by the auditor related to fixed assets. According to the corrective action plan, “additions and deletions to fixed assets were not accounted for and no physical inventory has been taken.”

The effect of that condition “could result in inaccurate financial presentation, and failure to take a physical inventory could result in the misappropriation of township property going undetected; also, property insurance records may be inaccurate.”

The auditor recommended that the fixed assets account group be maintained “in conformity with [accounting directives], and a periodic physical inventory be taken in accordance with [state statutes].”

According to the corrective action plan, “the Finance Department has requested to the Township Council that the fixed assets inventory be budgeted the last three to five years. The council has not funded this appropriation with the budget during that timeframe.

“However, the tax assessor maintains a list of properties owned, and the Department of Public Works maintains a list of vehicles and equipment owned. Both of these documents are used for insurance renewal documentation.”

The corrective answer states that “funds to take a new fixed asset inventory in digital format that could be installed in the existing computer system were requested in the 2011 budget. Due to financial constraints, the governing body did not include funding for the inventory in the final 2011 budget. Funding was requested in the 2012 budget and was not included in the final budget. A budget request for the inventory will be submitted for the 2013 budget.”

Contact Taylor M. Lier at tlier@gmnews.com.