published Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Rhea seeks accuracy in budget

By Kimberly McMillian

DAYTON, Tenn.—Members of the Rhea County Commission’s Purchase and Finance Committee are expressing concerns over what they consider inaccurate documentation and the need for more accountability in some county departments.

Finance Director Bill Graham said last week that there was “no accountability” in certain departments, and he displayed multiple receipts from the Rhea County Schools system.

Chairman Ronnie Raper reviewed the receipts and said more than $2,700 went toward gift cards, and it was not specified to whom they were distributed or the reason. Raper also said that another portion went toward food, without information to accompany the purchase.

Graham said after the meeting that several county departments had credit cards, but he didn’t know how many were issued.

“That’s the problem,” he said.

In a 2010 audit, it was noted the finance department needed to have “more management oversight” and to have purchase orders issued after purchases were made.

Last month, the committee agreed to review the pros and cons of distributing Regions Bank purchasing cards for convenience.

Bank representatives told officials that the cards could make money and give cash back annually.

The audit also stated that the county needed to have better controls over its capital and nondepreciable assets.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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