Magoffin County Official frustrated with state audit fees

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Posted at 7:57 PM, Mar 01, 2022

MAGOFFIN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Magoffin County official is on a mission to change the way county finances are looked at in Kentucky.

Judge-Executive Matt Wireman says rural counties like his are being hit with unfair audit costs.

He says when he took over his office in 2019, he was hit with 14 audit bills totaling more than $400,000 dating back to 2013.

Wireman says it's a huge chunk of his budget and other rural counties like his. Now he's working with lawmakers to pass a bill to change it.

"In a bigger entity, the costs are a smaller percentage of your budget. But when you're a small community, a lot Magoffin County and from counties east to west that are small, rural communities, you start pulling hundreds of 1000s of dollars out to audit small amounts of money. The taxpayers here paid a higher percentage of their tax dollars back to a state agency to get the same services to the larger cities."

House Bill 588 would set timelines for state auditors to get annual audits done and allow each county in Kentucky to contract with private accounting firms (certified public accountant) to save money. It has not yet been brought to the floor for a vote.

If a county, county clerk, or county sheriff elects to have the Auditor of Public Accounts conduct the audit, the audit must be completed by August 1 following the calendar year that is the focus of the audit, and by February 1 of the following fiscal year that is the focus of the audit.

However, entities or officials have to have been audited within the preceding three years and not have received an adverse, disclaimed, or qualified opinion.