Finance leaders change policies
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Jan 09, 2014 | 781 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Bradley County Finance Committee made several budgetary and policy changes at its Wednesday meeting.

In addition to budget changes related to a few county departments, the committee voted to make changes to its reserve fund and credit card policies, the latter of which was due to a finding on a recent state budget audit.

In December, the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury released its audit of the Bradley County government for the fiscal year that ended in June 2013. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report named the county a “low-risk auditee” and said there were “no instances of noncompliance that were material to the financial statements of Bradley County.” 

However, there were a few findings, including one related to how credit card use is documented. One was that “several county departments violated the county’s credit card policy.” It described a desired system in which county employees must submit signed receipts and other such documentation for purchases. Another was that a county employee had made personal purchases with county funds.

Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said shortly thereafter the county did not require the kind of system for credit card usage which the state suggested, but the county may look into it.

The finance committee took action on the matter at its most recent meeting, approving changes to the county credit card policy to require that department heads “review the monthly statement, verify the purchases and attach all copies of detailed receipts signed by the person using the card.” 

Other new additions to the credit card policy include specifics on what should happen in an emergency requiring a purchase that cannot be approved first, if receipts are lost or if an employee “blatantly defies” the policy.

The committee also voted to change its reserve fund policy. The county reserve fund was made “to address operating cost needs, to allow for unforeseen needs of an emergency nature and to permit adjustments to changes resulting from fluctuations of revenue sources.” To keep things running, the policy lists minimum percentage amounts for certain categories to be funded.

The recent change brought the requirement for the county fire fund up to 10 percent, and the county debt service fund must now have the equivalent of 13 months of expenses. Required levels that are to remain the same include 10 percent for the general fund, 7 percent for the county road department, 5 percent for the board of education and county schools, 5 percent for the public library fund and 5 percent for the Tri-State Exhibition Center fund.

First on Wednesday’s list of budget amendments was $14 in copy fees for which the Bradley County Commission was reimbursing the county. It passed with no discussion.

The next was $661 being allocated to the Bradley County Department of Health’s building fund to be used for things like repairs and maintenance for the exterior of the building.

County Finance Director Lynn Burns said it was just a case of state-awarded funds from last year “being carried over” into this one.

The committee also voted to accept a $1,000 reimbursement from SkyRidge Medical Center for a conference event that had been held in conjunction with the health department. The two entities had evenly split the cost, and the health department had contributed the money.

The county health department also saw an additional $2,488 being added to its coffers from a Tennessee public safety grant. The money will be used to help fund its car seat program for new parents.

Another health department grant which has been regulary awarded in the past was also added to the budget after the committee voted its approval. It added $51,200 in state funds to help pay for things like salaries for various categories of personnel, supplies and insurance.

Committee member Louie Alford said he had some concerns about how long the state grant would continue to be awarded and wondered if the county would have to “pick up the tab” for that at some point. Burns said the grant had been awarded for as long as she had been in her job position.

A total of $3,748 was given to the county by an insurance company after a 2013 Ford Explorer used by the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office was in an accident.

The Agricultural Extension Service also wanted to move $5,000 from its fund for “other salaries and wages” to the one set aside for “maintenance and repair services.” 

“There is an open position, so there’s some money available,” committee chair Ed Elkins said.

Alford asked which position was open, and Burns said she believed it was a clerical position that did not have to be immediately filled.

When all was said and done, the committee had passed all budget amendments presented to it during the meeting.