The controversy over the Nassau County attorney gave way to the nuts and bolts of county governance this week as the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners received a presentation on its latest audit.
“It looks real good, by the way,” Clerk of Court John Crawford said.
It indeed appeared to be good news for Commissioners who may have needed some, given the last couple weeks.
“The results were very positive,” said Ryan Tucker of the Purvis Gray firm’s Tallahassee office. “Ron (Whitesides) handles the Board of County Commissioners audit, and then my team — his team’s out of Gainesville — my team handles the constitutional officers.
“Just to give you kind of an overview, Ron brings his team of five or six auditors out for some preliminary field work back in October, for about a week, then his group comes back for about three weeks in December to look at the final balances. My group comes out the last week of October and spends most of November out here working with all the constitutional officers.”
The report’s actually a collection of six — the board and the constitutional officers — comprising around 300 pages. These opinions on the county’s financial statements come unmodified, which is the highest level of assurance the board can receive from an external accounting firm.
“So, congratulations on that,” Tucker said. “Secondarily, we have to issue a report on internal control, in accordance with government auditing standards. We do that across all entities, and we had one finding in the group, which is not bad at all. Ron’s gone over it with you individually when you met last week, and it was really just a billing issue with (Nassau-Amelia Utilities). You all outsourced to a vendor this year, and (the concern involved) tightening up some of the controls over that process. We will look at that next year to see if that has been resolved.”
Tucker went over the county’s compliance with a set of specific state laws on financial behavior, which he said the county appeared to handle without issues.
“We have to look at whether the county’s in a deteriorating financial condition, and if they were, we’d have to comment on that,” Tucker said. “There were no issues there. We have to comment on the prior years, whether or not any prior year’s issues have been resolved. If you recall, there was one issue on the prior year’s audit report regarding the timeliness of ambulance billings. We followed up on that, and that we considered to be resolved.”
The firm also looked at the county’s grant activity, as it dealt with 32 federal grants totaling $3.2 million and 19 state grants totaling $13.5 million. There were no problems with the major program accounting with either set of grants.
“So, that was good news,” Tucker said.
He closed by thanking county officials and staff for their professionalism during the process.