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Utility District enacts changes following audit

An audit by the Indiana State Board of Accounts recently examined the LaGrange County Regional Utility District for 2010 and 2011 and raised several issues with the district’s policies.

The district, in turn, has already taken steps to correct most of the issues raised prior to the release of the report, according to its official response which was included in the final report released by the state.

Some issues concerning billing for campgrounds and fees at Fawn River Crossing have been addressed through reprogramming billing software, the district noted in its response to the audit.

In regards to a billing concern for a youth camp, the board did take exception to the state’s findings, noting that the monthly charge to the camp had been arrived at “rationally and therefore lawfully from the applicable rate ordinance and schedule of rates and charges.” The district response also noted that a statute cited by the examiners for the camp issue had not been enacted at the time of the charges that were being questioned. After the new statute went into effect, the district stated it changed the way it charged the property owner so that the district complied with the statute.

The district also noted that, concerning collecting uncharged amounts for the youth camp, it investigated what it would require to do so, and found that the benefits of recovering the fees were “outweighed by the cost of such an action and the risk that the district would not be successful.”

Other issues brought up by the audit included the district being charged sales tax for some purchases when it was exempt, paying late fees and penalties on some accounts, and changes to supporting documentation for charges. The district’s response indicated that it has already addressed these concerns with changes to its policies and procedures.

The district noted that it has also changed its policies concerning Christmas gift cards for district employees and use of funds for personal expenses for Christmas parties and other holiday-related goods, having discontinued the practice and notes in the response that the district will not do so again in the future.