Cass County receives clean audit report, with a few comments

Published 4:37 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

CASS COUNTY — A local government body has been given a clean bill of health for its financial reporting. 

At its latest regular meeting, the Cass County Board of Commissioners meeting heard and approved an audit report for the 2021 fiscal year. In the report, by Alan Panter of accounting firm Yeo and Yeo, the county was applauded for its quality of reporting, as well as how it handled a transition of reporting duties from Deputy Finance Director Becky Moore to Finance Director Jennifer Rentfrow. 

“The audit went well this year,” Panter said. “The transition has gone very smoothly from my perspective. I think the county is very well set up in that position.”

Panter said the audit was issued before the March 31 deadline, and they had no significant difficulties in receiving and incorporating component units – Cass County Road Commission and Woodlands Behavioral Healthcare Network – into the audit, as they have in the past.

“That’s a very positive thing,” Panter said. “The county was well-prepared when we arrived and we were able to complete our procedures efficiently. I would like to thank everyone that we work with at the county, especially Jennifer Rentfrow, Becky Moore and their team, as well as everyone that we’ve worked with at the treasurer’s office, clerk’s office and various other county departments.”

The auditors reviewed the county’s child support enforcement grant and Panter said they found no compliance issues, deficiencies in internal control or material weaknesses. According to Panter, the county qualifies as a low-risk auditee, a distinction earned through successful administration of federal awards.

In a letter to county administration, the auditors also commented on a few minor issues they saw. Panter said these comments were not required, but the auditors do it as an additional service and to indicate any opportunities for improvement. 

First, Panter said there was one fund with a $983 deficit, for which the county will need to file a budget deficit elimination plan with the state.

“It’s not what I would consider to be materially significant,” Panter said. 

Additionally, Panter said the county has two funds where the adopted budget would have created a deficit.

“Of course, it didn’t [happen],” he said. “But the issue is that when you adopt a budget where your expenditures exceed your revenues – which is allowable – you have to make sure there is existing fund balance to cover that. … So, that’s just something to watch in the budgeting process.” 

After the presentation, Commissioner Robert Benjamin commented on the report to members of the administrator’s office. 

“It’s incredibly important that we’re not spending funds that haven’t been budgeted by the board,” Benjamin said. “Have you guys started the plan with the state of Michigan to get that rectified?”

Deputy County Administrator Matthew Newton said he believes the administrator’s office has started the debt elimination plan.

“I think the biggest thing is making sure that we’re reviewing these as we go throughout the year,” Newton said. “If there is a need for an amendment or adjustment of some sort, bringing that to the board of commissioners and making sure we address that.”

Benjamin responded.

“I would say you shouldn’t write checks until it’s been approved,” he said. “If you could, at the next meeting, let us know that’s been done, or what that plan is.”