PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County Public Utility District received a clean audit report on its 2015 finances, a welcome change from the troubling audit it received on its 2010-14 finances last year, district officials said.
The three district commissioners received the results of the 2015 audit in a Tuesday meeting with Assistant State Auditor Kendra Huson and Amy Strzalka, assistant audit manager of the state auditor’s office, said Jim Parker, PUD general manager.
The results were an “unmodified opinion” from the state auditor’s office, which means the audit was clean, he said.
Parker said in a news release that auditors were impressed with the progress made by PUD staff since last year’s meeting.
Last year’s audit revealed several issues with PUD finances, one of which was outdated finance software.
“Our staff has been working diligently to improve our practices and utilize our new software to the fullest extent possible,” Parker said.
“We have made considerable progress and are committed to continued improvement, especially in the area of our finances.”
The 2015 audit was the first done since the new finance software was implemented in 2014.
However, the software was just the tip of the iceberg.
In the 2014 audit, auditors determined the PUD didn’t have the necessary internal controls to keep public funds safe, report the scheduled expenditures of federal awards and keep the PUD in compliance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
In the 2014 audit, 80 PUD transactions from 2013 through 2015 did not have the required approval signatures, the state said.
The PUD also overstated the utility plant assets by more than $31 million, accumulated depreciation by more than $29 million, accounts receivable by more than $2 million and accounts payable by more than $1 million, the state said.
Since then, the PUD has updated its system and hired more employees with experience in finance.
Those decisions have paid off, according to Parker. A letter from the auditors suggested that the PUD continue its progress by continuing to educate its staff, establish better procedures for work orders and develop controls for asset balances.
The PUD will pay $47,000 for the 2015 audit.
The 2016 audit is scheduled to begin in October and will cost an estimated $56,000.
The full audit report will be published online Monday on the state auditor’s website at http://portal.sao.wa.gov/ReportSearch.