Audit of county finances is required to be completed by the end of the month.

Last updated: June 13. 2013 12:16AM - 3234 Views
By - jandes@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6388

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Luzerne County officials are scrambling to comply with a home rule charter requirement to complete the 2012 audit by June 30.

Charter drafters imposed the deadline because of past delays completing county audits.

In the summer of 2007, for example, county officials were just getting ready to start the 2005 audit, even though all other similarly sized counties in the state had completed their 2005 audits by that time.

Timely audits also will help Luzerne County in its quest to obtain a credit rating that could lower interest rates on outstanding debt.

The county is paying the local accounting firm ParenteBeard around $100,000 to complete the 2012 audit.

During a county audit committee meeting Wednesday, ParenteBeard representative Andrea Caladie said she is optimistic her firm will complete an audit draft by the deadline, though some components may be missing.

The draft audit may not include required information on some county agencies that have not yet forwarded copies of their own 2012 outside audits, Caladie said.

The firm is still awaiting 2012 audits from several entities that are not part of the general fund operating budget, including the county retirement board, some human service agencies and the county Flood Protection Authority, she said.

Councilwoman Linda McClosky Houck, who serves on the audit committee, said she doesn’t want audit delays from some agencies to hold up the rest of the audit.

Caladie said her firm also is awaiting some additional analysis from county staff.

County Manager Robert Lawton said the county will pay ParenteBeard additional money to assist with this analysis if it cannot be prepared in-house before the deadline. In an attempt to save money, Lawton this year stopped paying outside fee accountant consultants to prepare the books and is trying to rely on staffers to handle that work.

The county’s 2011 audit was finalized this April.

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