Lawrence Co. may lose more than $250k in overdue audits - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Lawrence Co. may lose more than $250k in overdue audits

Some public services would be threatened by the new financial crisis. Some public services would be threatened by the new financial crisis.

Already facing financial issues, Lawrence County Commissioners said they have been slapped with a surprise problem with little time to fix it.

Senior ALDOT Transportation Planner Joe Nix informed commissioners Thursday that the county has not provided sufficient information for the state to conduct audits for fiscal years 2011 and 2012. If the information for 2011 cannot be provided by September 30th, the county would be cut off from the more than $260,000 in yearly funding that ALDOT allocates from federal funding. Lawrence County's Transportation Department and Aging Council uses part of the money to provide services for homebound residents. That includes food delivery and bus service, including for people who need dialysis treatments.

"Some of these people don't have very many family members that are able to take them for their treatments on a daily basis, or a weekly basis. They kind of depend on the transportation department to step in and give them that ride that basically would mean life or death," said County Commission Chair Prentis Davis.

Davis said the previous county administrator, who was fired in January, had not been keeping track of the financial information, and that commissioners are shocked to find out the audits have not been done.

If they lose the funding, the services it helps pay for can be saved. Nix said if another city or county government, or a governmental agency, like the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments, agrees to it, the funding could go to them and the services could be maintained, no longer be managed by Lawrence County.

"Nobody likes to get surprised with bad news, especially in this situation. This affects a lot of people's lives. But, I'm glad it's on the table now. Now we can work to fix it," Davis said.

County officials said because of the poor bookkeeping, they will have to go through bank statements, and providing the information for the audit by September 30th is not likely. They added finding a willing partner to take over may be the only way to save the services for the homebound. Nix said if that happens, Lawrence County could receive the funding and resume management once all of the responsibilities concerning the audits are met.

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