Christian County Historic Courthouse

Patrons and staff of the Christian County Historic Courthouse in Ozark are able to enter and exit the building through a security checkpoint on the east side off of Second Street.

It has seven commendations against just two recommendations. The independent auditor doesn’t come out and say it, but a review of Christian County’s finances is all together positive.

“In a nutshell—100 percent compliant. It’s historical,” Presiding Commissioner Ralph Phillips said.

The Christian County Commission accepted the findings of an independent audit by KPM CPAs and Advisors for the year ending Dec. 31, 2018 at a meeting held on July 8.

Phillips commended all of the department heads who lead the employees of Christian County’s government offices. A clean audit report, he said, took the work of many.

“Anytime you have 12 CEOs, it’s a challenge. It’s not like most businesses. People really respond well to effective teamwork,” Phillips said.

The Christian County Treasurer’s Office manages the county government budget of more than $12 million. It also manages financial disbursements of revenue to 13 different school districts, nine fire protection districts, six special road districts, and other taxing entities such as the Christian County Library and Ozarks Technical Community College.

Treasurer Karen Matthews explained that the auditors generally work out of the vault in her office, and they ask for documentation on all sorts of financial matters.

“All of the receipting comes form our office, so they are constantly—we have everything strung out all over the place because of all the receipts. They want to see it, they want to see the paperwork,” Matthews said.

In its official findings presented to the Christian County Commission, KPM commended Christian County for adopting policies and procedures regulating contracts that the county government enters with outside entities. All contracts are now reviewed and approved by the county commission, county attorney and the county auditor, in accordance with a set of written policies.

KPM also commended Christian County for designating an employee to track and monitor grants, segregating duties related to accounts payable and vendor approval, taking steps to pay vendors in a timely manner in order to avoid late fees, setting up a reserve fund for the Stonehollow Neighborhood Improvement District special assessment bonds, separating jail inmate funds from all other county funds, and reminding officeholders of policies for employee paid time off so that policies will be followed more consistently.

Most of those commendations are the results of recommendations made in prior audits.

“We made it a priority to identify areas that could use improvement based on their audit, and we focused on them. Our goal as a county is to be compliant,” Phillips said.

All of that to say, Christian County received a very favorable independent audit report.

“(KPM) have done our outside audit for years, so they’re very knowledgable of our finances, and we have one of these every year, financial audit. Historically, there have always been recommendations to change to be compliant,” Phillips said.

In 2018, Christian County took in about $7.2 million into its general revenue fund. About $4 million came from sales tax revenue, and $735,500 comes from property taxes and surtaxes. 

One of the KBM auditors’ recommendations involves new standards regarding lease accounting and fiduciary activity enacted by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, which are set to go into effect in 2019 and 2020. The other recommendation involves Christian County taking additional steps to lower the risks of cyber attacks.

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