Liberty windfall may reverse fiscal status

By jeanne starmack


Liberty Township will ask the state auditor’s office to reverse a fiscal-caution status it placed the township under Oct. 3.

The township was expecting to be placed in fiscal caution, two steps above fiscal emergency, because it did not have the money to correct 2008-09 audit findings that had to do with improper budget fund transfers, said township law director Atty. Mark Finamore. Once in fiscal caution, it would have received free help then from a contractor for the auditor’s office to resolve the findings, Finamore said.

Otherwise, the township would have had to pay $50 an hour for the contractor’s services, he said.

Shortly before the fiscal-caution notice, the township received a windfall of $400,000 from state inheritance taxes. Officials decided to use it to correct the audit findings, Finamore said.

State Auditor Dave Yost said Oct. 3 that the township didn’t repay findings noted in the 2008-09 audit. Had it made the adjustments, the general fund would have had a negative cash fund balance of $313,110.

The $400,000 was used in part to correct that negative balance, said Finamore. It was also used to pay $20,000 from the general fund to the fire fund and $15,000 from the police fund to the fire fund, according to a resolution the trustees passed Oct. 2.

The resolution was too late to stop the fiscal caution. The township received the notice that afternoon.

The auditor said he wants a plan to correct the findings that led to fiscal caution within 60 days.

Finamore said he will send a copy of the resolution and printouts of computer work that show the findings were corrected.

“I’ll ask them to terminate the fiscal caution,” Finamore said. “The good news is, I think we’re in good shape.”

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