Routt County 2020 audit report doesn’t flag any issues |

Routt County 2020 audit report doesn’t flag any issues

Editor’s note: This story was updated Nov. 22 to correctly identify the county assessor’s office as receiving the suggestion to train more employees to handle deposits.

An annual audit of Routt County’s 2020 financial statements didn’t produce any issues, with auditors saying financial statements received the highest level the county could have received.

The county’s independent auditor is Avon-based McMahan and Associates LLC. Michael Jenkins, an accountant and partner with the firm, told the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that the county received the same rating when it comes to spending federal dollars, as well.

“We are pleased to let you know that the county for 2020 received what’s called an unmodified audit opinion. That’s the highest level of assurance that we as auditors and (certified public accountants) can provide,” Jenkins said.

In terms of general accounting policies and practices, the audit found Routt County is “conservative, consistent and compliant,“ which Jenkins said is “the best you could do.”

When looking at internal financing, the audit didn’t identify any deficiencies, material weaknesses or any instances of noncompliance. The same is true for the county’s handling of federal funds, the report shows.

“It’s good to have a second set of eyes,” Commissioner Tim Redmond said. “When you’re so close to the fire, sometimes you don’t see it, and it’s good to have somebody look at our policies and procedures to make sure that we’re up to date.”

The audit was conducted during a week in March and another in July, though it was all done remotely, Jenkins said. County financial practices are compared with standards set by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, a nongovernmental organization.

About 44% of the county’s revenues came from property taxes, 26% from operating grants, 19% from sales taxes and another 8% from charges for services provided by the county.

When it comes to expenses, the three biggest costs are for the road and bridge department, community resources and public safety, with each represent about 22% of 2020 expenses. County government administration made up about 17% of total spending, with the county’s human services department amounting to another 12%.

While it was a significant amount of expenses, the Human Services Department covered 87% of them with revenue from the programs it operates. The road and bridge department is able to cover just over half of its expenses with its revenues, and a third of the cost of community resources are covered by those program revenues. Just 10% of the public safety budget is funded by revenues it collects.

A letter from the firm outlines some recommendations going forward, mainly regarding how various departments handle cash payments. Another suggestion was to train more employees in the assessor’s office to handle deposits, as some were delayed while that employee worked from home during the pandemic.

“We have some changes we need to make, but I don’t see anything glaring,” Redmond said.

The letter includes recommendations from previous years, as well, and Jenkins said over the years, the letter has gotten much shorter, a sign that the county and department managers are committed to transparency and using resources efficiently.

Commissioner Tim Corrigan said he considers the most important part is that the county is conservative, consistent and compliant when it comes to its fiscal practices.

“I think that the current commissioners are the beneficiary of decades of prior commissioners who really promoted a conservative, consistent and compliant approach,” he said.

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