Boone County Fire District budget “clean,” says new auditor

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | 7:23 p.m. CDT; updated 10:57 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Fire Protection District’s 2007 budget audit has been pronounced “clean” by its new independent auditor.

“I think this helps us be one step ahead of where we’ve been,” said board member Dave Griggs. “It’s nice to have a clean audit.”

The fire district’s Board of Directors contracted Williams Keepers, LLC to conduct independent audits for fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009. Only details like footnotes and a lack of double-checking of records by the fire district were not up to par, according to the audit report by Heidi Chick. She said that the rigidity of post-Enron government accounting standards have made such findings “really common with a lot of smaller entities with limited funds.”

The fire district’s budget has increased $567,387 over the last fiscal year, largely due to equipment purchases and operating expenditures like vehicle fuel and utilities.

In past years, the district has been plagued by sloppy bookkeeping of its steadily increasing budget.

In 2006, Sue Miller, a representative of Marberry, Miller & Bales P.C., called the district’s 2005 bookkeeping “inauditable” because of alleged incompetence by a former bookkeeper, according to previous Missourian reports.

The following year brought better reports as Miller reported that the district’s funds were in “overall pretty good form” for fiscal year 2006.

The fire district’s 2009 budget is in its preliminary stages and has not yet been approved by the board. It must be adjusted for new tax levy amounts and submitted to the County Auditor by Sept. 1.

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