News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

December 12, 2013

County releases unpaid excise disbursements

At issue: more than $845,000

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County officials are dispersing more than $800,000 in undistributed excise tax funds from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles that had accumulated on monthly bank reconcilements for years.

It is not the first time the county has done this.

At the request of the state auditor in 2011, Vigo County distributed about $1 million in excise funds that had been undistributed in accounts dating to the 1980s. The accounting measure was to ensure all excise tax disbursements statewide were up to date, said Kylissa Miller, Vigo’s chief deputy auditor.

However, more than $845,400 was not included in that distribution.

County Treasurer Jim Bramble said he discovered the funds after finding monthly bank statements. However, none of the cash had been accounted for in the county’s cash ledger.

“This goes back years and years from accounts started in the 1980s, and this money was not distributed when the state took over license branches,” Bramble said.

The funds were distributed Thursday to taxing units as part of an annual December tax distribution, Miller said.

Of the more than $845,000, the state of Indiana received more than $232,600, as the state has assumed funding for county welfare and county schools. The state’s portion is 27.5 percent of the gross total.

However, the Vigo County School Corp. got just over $179,400 as the school corporation receives a portion of tax rates for bus replacement, capital projects, debt service and transportation, Miller said.

Vigo County got more than $181,600, and the city of Terre Haute received more than $129,800.

When the undistributed excise funds were discovered early this year, Bramble requested the State Board of Accounts review the bank statements.

In its audit report of the county, released this month, the State Board of Accounts noted internal controls over financial transactions and reporting on monthly bank reconcilements were deficient.

“Unidentified differences were improperly labeled to indicate they had been identified, when they were actually being carried forward month after month,” the SBOA audit states.

“A Bureau of Motor Vehicles bank account was not reconciled to the depository bank statement or included in the treasurer’s reconcilement, which allowed a material balance to remain undetected and undistributed by the county,” the audit states.

Bramble said the county has corrected that issue by distributing the excise funds in the December tax settlement payment and employees responsible for reconciliations now work under the direct supervision of the county treasurer, who also now reviews monthly bank reconciliations.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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