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Shelton Mason County Journal
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Mason County Journal
January 2, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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January 2, 2014

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4- I ![! iil J:! State Auditor's Office formally dings county By NATALIE JOHNSON natalie@masoncou nty.com The Washington state Audi- tors Office released its formal accountability audit report for Mason County. Representatives from the Auditors Office met with the Mason County Board of Com- missioners on Dec. 3 to review the findings. The audit reviewed county activities from Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2012. The audit, released Mon- day, lists three findings: The county assessor's controls over personal property were not adequate to ensure that the county collects all tax revenue; the Belfair sewer fund's finan- cial condition puts it at risk of not being able to meet its finan- cial obligations; and the equip- ment rental and revolving fund (ER&R) did not charge funds equitably. The full report released Monday goes into the findings in detail. According to the report, the county is required to create a list of personal property for all businesses operating in the county. Each year, businesses are required to update infor- mation about their property by April 30. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 au- dits, the state Auditor's Office recommended that the Asses- smZs Office improve controls over the identification of that personal property. In the most recent report, the state auditor stated eight of 18 businesses selected during the audit were not in the coun- ty assessor's records, did not submit a 2012 property listing, and were not taxed for personal property. "Businesses that have not reported personal property are not taxed or penalized equita- bly compared to businesses al- ready in the assessor's records, and the county has not collect- ed all personal property taxes to which it is entitled," the re- port states. The. county responded to the finding by saying that staff turnover exacerbated the prob- lem in 2012. "Somewhere in the progres- sion of training, the new pro- cedure wasn't applied as effec- tively as a more experienced employee may have done," ac- cording to the reports. The state auditor highlight- ed financial problems with the Belfair sewer in the audit re- port. "The sewer is not generating enough revenue to pay back the debt," the report reads. The sewer fund will be short by between $500,000 and $1 mil- lion each year until the debt is paid off, according to the report. The state auditor has recom- mended that the county "estab- lish a formal financial plan to address how it plans to repay the debt," and to closely moni- tor the sewer fund to ensure the plan is followed. The county commission re- sponded, saying that the county is in the process of developing a financial plan for the sewer. Lastly, the state Auditors Office found that the county's ER&R fund did not charge funds equitably. According to the report, between 2010 and 2012, the commission reduced payments from the current expense de- partment for vehicle, computer and telephone costs, and elimi- nated those charges in 2013. Departments outside of the current expense department continued to be charged ER&R expenses. "The board of commission- ers chose to reduce the amount charged to the current expense departments to decrease ex- penses during the budget set- ting process," the report states. The state auditor recom- mended that the county allo- cate costs for ER&R equitably, and "correct past inequities in the ER&R fund." The county commission re- sponded, saying it planned to develop a plan to address the issue. County consolidates HR, central operations00into support services By NATALIE JOHNSON natalieCwmasoncounty.com The Mason County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Dec. 24 creat- ing a Support Services Department. The new department is a consolidation of human resources, central opera- tions, risk management, emergency management, information services departments, and will provide support to civil services and the board of equalization. County commissioner Terri Jeffreys said the new department will make running the county more efficient. "We have activities of the county that are man- aged by multiple different departments," she said. "It's so decentralized that we don't have a lot of con- tinuity." Current Human Re- sources Director Bill Ken- ny will take control of the department as support services director. "It's broadening his role as a human resources director," Jeffreys said. "Human resources be- ing a significant function of this, we didn't want to lose that skill set. We felt that that was a tremen- dous resource to be able to draw from." Kenny said staff cuts after the beginning of the recession isolated some departments. "We went from 430 employees to ayear later about 330," he said. "And very little work actually went away, so there were people trying to maintain service levels without that support and centraliza- tion ... There were some functions that no one was clearly responsible for." The consolidation will also provide more staff support for citizen boards such as the civil service commission and the Board of Equalization. Consolidating the de- partments could make it easier to implement proj- ects such as a countywide salary survey or county- wide personnel policies, Jeffreys said. Kenny said the consoli- dation will also allow the support services depart- ment to play a role in ad- dressing concerns about the county's Equipment Rental and Revolving fund raised by the state AuditoxZs Office this year. '%Ve need to become more clear on what it is we have and what it is we need," he said. County Auditor Karen Herr expressed concern about the resolution last week before the commis- sion approved it, "rhe public had no re- view process," she said. Members of the county commission said they had discussed the move since October, but the depart- ment was not included in the proposed county bud- get released in November. Herr said the creation of the support services de- partment was included in more than 100 pages of changes to the 2014 bud- get submitted to the Au- ditolZs Office on Dec. 17, two weeks after the county commission held a public hearing on the budget Dec. 2. "It totally circumvent- ed the budget process," she said. "It's unprec- edented the number of changes that were made after the public hearing." The new department will also include budget analysis and financial management. Kenny said he thinks the county commission is being "great stewards of the public dollar." The resolution includes reclassifying Kenny as support services director, the central operations ad- ministrative supervisor to administrative services manager and the risk manager/budget analyst to human resources/risk manager. Kenny said he will con- tinue to handle labor rela- tions, but that the human resources/risk manager will take on tasks such as up- dating personnel policies. The department adds two paid postions, includ- ing the budget director and the human resources/ risk manager. The com- mission voted Dec. 10 to hire Frank Pinter as bud- get director. Mason County Com- missioner Terri Jeffreys said it adds $178,00 to the 2014 budget. Nonprofit Briefs United Way accepting funding applications United Way of Mason County invites nonprofit agencies to consider applying for available funds gen- erated through workplace giving campaigns. HOODSPORT ................ WINERY HOLIDAY CASE SPECIALS Just Reds 4 Medot, 4 Island Belle, 4 Cab-Sony. Regular price; $227.88 Sale price: $182.30//9544 Fruit Case 3 Raspberry, 3 Rhubarb, 3 Pear, 3 Apple Regular price: $203.88 Sale price: $163.1 ! Festive Whites & Island Belle 3 Riesling, 3 Chardonnay, 3 Pinot GrJs, 3 Island Belle Regular price: 203.88 Sale price: $163.11 #9s43 Vintage Case Call for details Regular ce: $227.88 Sale price: $182.30 #9538 Oyster White & Rhubarb 6 Rhubarb, 6 Chardonnay Regular price: $203.88 Sale price: S!63.1 ! s39 Sample Case 1 each of 12 varieties Regular price: $203.88 Sale price: $163.11 548 All Star Reds 4 Syrah, 4 Merlot, 4 Cab-Sauv. Regu[ar price: $257.88 Sale price: $206.30 s49 Fly Fishing Special - Plus 2 each of 6 varieties Regular price: $243.86 Sale price: $189.96 #9541 Classic Case 2 each of 6 varieties Regular price: $203.88 Sale price: $163.1 ! #9545 Fruit & Berry Harvest Call for details Regular price: $203.88 Sale price: $163.11 gsoo Hoodsport Raspberry Wine Chocolate Truffles Girl Box $20.99 Hoodsport Winery Coffees Reg. $16.99, now $12.99 Plus!Try our Hoodsport Jams! Our tasting room now features Eagle Mount and Anthem Ciders & Meads Phone & web orders welcome! We Ship! Note: we will ship the most current wine vintages. Hoodsport Winery North 23501 Hwy. 101, Hoodsport, WA 98548 !-800-580-9894 360-877-9894 Fax 360-877-9508 j Page A-6 - Mason County Journal - Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 United Way is accepting applications from orga- nizations that address at least one of the following areas: education, income and basic needs, and health. The application and training on the new two-year funding format will be provided at a Community Service QUALITY BUILDINGS AT AFFORDABLE PRICES.: Z4xZ4x8 24x36x9 36x36x14 Tm Car hrage Gage I Hobby Shop Tm Car gmge Shop & IN S12,259+h. Z4x4OxlS INhrage S15,514.m  S23,878+m 30x3sx18 & g 30xsox18" & 9 z-Sto 3-Stall garage Two Story garage & IN $20,439.  $32,547. S $40,195- Sw axs nx.xm & e Unsurpassed II1| Boy Toy hrmge Two br & IN brqe in Customer Satisfaction 35 Years of | p,o00.ffio.n I All Prices Include Plans; Labor, Materials and Concrete Floors I Group meeting from i to 2:25 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Public Works building at 100 W. Public Works Drive, at the cor- ner of U.S. Highway 101 and state Route 102/W. Dayton Airport Road. The deadline for the application is March 3. The money is available annually for agencies and programs serving Mason County residents. Af- ter Jan. 14, interested agencies and groups can call United Way at 426-4999. Applications are also avail- able at the website at Unitedwaymasonco.org. Click on "funding" and "apply for grant." Anyone interested in working with the United Way board of directors to review agency applications and recommend how to distribute the money can call Tamra Ingwaldson, executive director of United Way of Mason County at 226-4999 or email tingwaldson@u nitedwaymasonco.org. The orientation is April 17. See BRIEFS on page A-7 Behind the Habitat Store CLEANERS & TAILORS ,._j. Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Sat 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. I crmDer 215 South Second. 426-3371 [ I 'Member ' Serving She#on and Mason County for 89 years I