Richland County commissioners accept funds for accounting services

Richland County commissioners voted Thursday to approve two contracts with a Columbus-area company that provides accounting services to local governments in a bid to save money.

The three-year agreements with Julian and Grube Inc. of Westerville are to prepare a comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR), which is filed with the state and is used for transactions such as backgrounds for grant applications and credit ratings for project financing, and a less complex People’s Annual Financial Report (PAFR).

Auditor Pat Dropsey told the board the work was done by Andy McGinty, who moved across the hall to the treasurer’s office about a year ago.

“While working for the county auditor’s office, half of his year was spent preparing the county’s financial report, preparing reports or munis (the county’s accounting system) for the county auditor’s office. status to ensure that everything was going well during the audit. Anything that needed to be handled, he handled it,” Dropsey explained.

McGinty received a stipend to help with the 2021 reports, close the county’s financial records for the year and 2022, and train other employees in the auditor’s office to do the preparatory work he had done.

The company provides financial services to many governments

Dropsey did not replace McGinty and had two options this year – a contract with the Ohio Audio local government services department or with a private company. Although he contracted with local government departments to carry out work last year, they had no one available to work full time this year on CAFR and PAFR.

Dropsey said Julian and Grube is a company that does a variety of financial work for dozens of cities, counties and school districts and was recommended by Ontario School District Treasurer Randy Harvey, who told him says the company had been providing services to the district for “multiple, many years. “He has full confidence in them. He never had a problem with them. They delivered the service and stuck to the proposals they presented to the school district. Whatever they say they’re going to do, they do,” Dropsey said.

One of the contracts involves the CAFR, which Dropsey says is a complex report of over 200 pages. “That’s what Moody’s (Investor Service) is interested in, what Standard and Poor’s is interested in, what the various federal agencies that give grants to the county (need) and also the state agencies that give grants to the county” , did he declare.

The other deal is for the PAFR, which Dropsey said has been described as a 15-page “comic book” because it includes colorful pictures and graphics to illustrate what’s going on with the county’s money. “It’s not an audited report like the CAFR is, but it does follow the guidelines of the state auditor’s office for providing information in a more basic kind of format that the public can understand. “, he explained, adding “CAFR is a pain in the ass.

According to the contract, the county will pay Julian and Grube $26,500 per year to collect the data and create the CAFR, $4,500 to create the models for the PAFR and the report itself in the first year, and $1,900 each year. for the next two years for just the PAFR.

Cost to be reduced over three years

Dropsey told the board his office spent $44,200 on the reports in 2021, which included about $40,000 of McGinty’s salary and $4,200 for state aid. He said this year’s reports will cost $52,500, which includes a surcharge for the state to do the data collection and McGinty’s allowance.

“What I’m asking you to consider is going from $52,500 this year – last year it was $44,200 – to $35,000 next year and after that it drops to $33,200. $,” Dropsey said.

He recommended a three-year contract instead of a one-year trial with Julian and Grube to ensure more stability in the process and save money.

Commissioner Darrell Banks said the Village of Bellville hired Julian and Grube “several” times to perform their state-required audit. “They did a good job and it was nice to work with them.” he said.

“It’s the price to pay for doing business,” added Commissioner Cliff Mears.

Kristan F. Talley