State audit cites issues with M'ville parks funds

2013-01-12T19:11:00Z 2013-01-12T21:47:06Z State audit cites issues with M'ville parks fundsChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
January 12, 2013 7:11 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | An Indiana State Board of Accounts audit of Merrillville's 2011 financial records found multiple issues, several of which were in the parks department.

According to the recently filed audit, there was an occasion in which $580 in receipts were written in 2011 for funds collected from parks programs.

Those funds were not submitted to the clerk-treasurer's office, which would have deposited them into a bank account.

Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey said Parks Superintendent Caryn Wilson lost a deposit bag containing the money. She reimbursed the town for the $580, Guernsey said.

The audit indicates $505 of the missing receipts later was found in an envelope in the parks office and it was deposited into a bank account.

The report also indicates in October 2011, the parks department entered into a contract with a company to sell Entertainment Coupon Books as a parks fundraiser in 2012.

The parks department received 40 books, but it had not sold any of them as of September 2012, according to the audit. State auditors could locate only 20 books when taking an inventory of the items.

The town received an invoice from the company for the books. The invoice totaled $762, the audit states.

Guernsey said Wilson lost 20 of the books and she will be responsible for paying the invoice for the items.

"Anytime you lose something, you're responsible for it," Guernsey said of town employees.

Wilson could not be reached for comment Friday.

The audit also shows parks officials were paying funds to the Merrillville Community School Corp. for use of a facility in one of its schools.

Invoices indicated the building usage is for the Boys & Girls Clubs. The audit states the parks department doesn't provide services or supplies to the Boys & Girls Clubs and the organization isn't part of Merrillville's parks programs.

In 2009 and 2010, the department paid nearly $10,000 each of those years for the building use. Nearly $5,000 was paid to the school corporation in 2011. The town stopped paying for the building use in June 2011, according to the report.

Guernsey said the town was not using space at the school when it was paying the funds. He accepted responsibility for making those payments.

"I should've caught that," Guernsey said.

The audit also states the town made a temporary loan of $165,000 from its cumulative capital development fund to its cumulative capital improvement fund in 2005.

The Town Council approved a resolution in 2011 to repay the loan, but the transaction incorrectly transferred an additional $165,000 from the cumulative capital development fund to the cumulative capital improvement fund.

Guernsey said a new resolution will go to the council to correct the issue.

The audit also indicates nearly $1.9 million was due to the town as of December 2011 from emergency medical services bills issued between January 1999 and January 2008.

Merrillville privatized its emergency medical services in late 2007, and Prompt Ambulance Service became the town's ambulance provider in February 2008.

Merrillville did not write off the accounts that are not collectable, which is required by town ordinance, according to the audit.

Guernsey said Merrillville is using a collection agency to attempt to collect the past due funds, and he will continue to do so to bring in more money for the town.

State auditors also have asked Merrillville Town Court officials to change the way they documented some financial transactions in Court View, Lake County's case management system.

Some transactions were posted within the notes section of specific cases, which is the incorrect location, Merrillville Town Court Judge Gina Jones said.

The Town Court is updating its software and changing where transactions are posted so the information is easier to track.

While some transactions weren't posted in the correct format, funds associated with the transactions were handled correctly, Jones said.

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About Merrillville

Town Hall

7820 Broadway Ave. Merrillville, IN 46410
219.769.5711
Fax: 219.756.6170

Police Department

7820 Broadway Merrillville, IN 46410
Emergency: 911
Non-emergency 219.769.3531
Administration: 219.769.3722
Crime Tip Hotline: 219.756.6180 ext. 54

Fire Department

26 W. 73rd Ave. Merrillville, IN 46410
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Non-emergency 219.769.0004
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Parks & Recreation

5750 Tyler Place Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.980.5911

Lake County Public Library

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Phone: 219.769.3541

Merrillville Community School Corporation

6701 Delaware Street Merrillville, IN 46410
Phone: 219.650.5300

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