County Auditor Has Not Been Providing ‘Accurate, Factual Financial Information’ to Commissioners Court (Video)

Bowie County TexasIn this agenda item of Monday’s Commissioners Court, Bowie County Judge Sterling Lacy asked his son, Steve Lacy to make a presentation regarding “the differing reports from the County Auditor.”

Bowie County Auditor William Tye’s estimates to Commissioners Court of how much cash the county had on hand at the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1) have varied by over $5 million.

In November 2013, Tye reported to the Court that the county began the year with $2.2 million in the bank. In April 2014, he reported that the cash on hand – as of October 1 of the previous year – was negative $667,778. In May 2014, he reported that the beginning balance was negative $3,400,762.

Tye has said that these numbers, until May, were only estimates or projections.

According to Judge Lacy’s son, Steve Lacy, an auditor with over 20 years experience in non-profit organizations, “The beauty of an accountant using modified accrual accounting, is, if it’s done properly, you punch a button, you get a report.”

Lacy then spent the next half hour detailing how Tye’s varying estimates had caused problems with how the Commissioners made their decisions, and contributed to the current financial crisis, including the Court’s decision to borrow $5 million against next year’s taxes. He pointed out that on Tye’s report that showing that the county began the fiscal year with a $3.4 million deficit, there was an adjacent item that showed a CD worth over a million dollars. Tye replied that the CD wasn’t available as cash as of September 30. Lacy pointed out that it became available shortly thereafter, and that it actually made the reported deficit only $2.4 million, especially in relation to the tax anticipation note. He told the Commissioners that because of that, they were about to tax the citizens of Bowie County a million dollars too much.

After Steve Lacy concluded his presentation, Tye replied to his remarks, and stated that, “The only time we actually accrue anything is at the end of the year…. We don’t accrue during the year.”

Steve Lacy then replied, “Then I’ll make a comment to the Court: There’s no way you can make an accurate decision, for every month of the year, when you’re making decisions, because you don’t know what’s out there. That should be done monthly. In any other corporation in the world that is done probably more than monthly, but it’s done at least monthly so you have meaningful information.”

Tye then stated, “The only other comment I’d like to make is, I will stand by the 3.4 million [dollars]. A lot of the numbers I did provide, I was asked for estimates, and that’s exactly what I did, but I will stand by the $3.4 million because that’s the figure that I sent to the Attorney General [for approval of the tax-anticipation loan of $5 million] and that’s what’s on our cash… balance at the end of the year.”

Steve Lacy asked, “Then how do you explain the one million [dollar] CD right next to it [on the report]?” Tye replied, “They wanted operating cash, and that’s what I gave them. That’s what I was told by the attorney, that’s how he wanted it to be prepared.” Judge Lacy asked Tye, “Are you talking about Tom Pollan, made that recommendation?” Tye answered, “Yes, sir.”

Commissioner Kelly Blackburn asked for a vote of confidence from the Court, stating, “I am satisfied with our auditor, where he stands, as of now. That is my opinion, for whatever it’s worth.” Judge Lacy replied that since that wasn’t on the agenda, that they couldn’t vote, but offered to put it on the agenda for the next Court. County Legal Advisor Carol Dalby stated that the County Auditor is appointed by, and is an employee of, the district judges, and said, “The district judges have confidence in the county auditor.” She said it isn’t the Court’s position to have a vote of confidence; that lies within the purview of the district judges’ office.

Financial Advisory Committee member Joe Dike asked to speak, and said, “We can argue about whether we can spend these funds, whether they’re restricted or not. But the most important thing is we’re still spending more than we’re bringing in. I didn’t want to lose sight of that.”

0 thoughts on “County Auditor Has Not Been Providing ‘Accurate, Factual Financial Information’ to Commissioners Court (Video)

  1. I was behind the camera… I think I chuckled a couple times, and asked Steve Lacy to use the mic when he came back up to answer questions.

    Other than that, any comments you heard were from the people seated nearby. There was quite a bit of that.

  2. Do county officials and the judge not have access to the county reports via the computers at the county? From all i have seen via ogelsby and youtube and gazette etc it seems to me it should have been easily accessible. I was amazed the county auditor really didn’t have any more to say in his defense.
    This is what happens when county governments get involved in economic development. Such as road widening projects and prison building. This is what happens when you depend on other counties housing their prisoners in you jail and paying you for it and that is a major source of your budget revenue. This is what happens WHEN YOU OVERSPEND. I for one do not appreciate the advisory committee which we did not elect continually talking about raising taxes the full amount allowable the first chance the county gets to do so. And lets quit tooting our own horn about saving texarkana college. Especially since it is still propped up with millions from ross Perot. And lets not forget yet another property tax for bowie co residents. Mark my words when the perot prop up money ends and texarkana college has to stand on its own the residents of bowie county will be hit with a tax increase to save the college within 2 years of the Perot money gone. I do not appreciate constant accusations of illegal spending and accounting with no teeth in it. No charges filed. No one held accountable. Bottom line if this group of ELECTED OFFICIALS cant get it done then we citizens need to elect some that can. Quit taking on projects we dont need. I mean really people was hwy 82 really any problem before this massively expensive and time consuming project began to widen it? Is our county really better off with the Telford unit here? There you go i figure thats a good 2 cents worth

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