State Auditor Mike Harmon released the audit of the sheriff’s settlement — 2020 taxes for Logan County Sheriff Stephen Stratton. State law requires the auditor to annually audit the accounts of each county sheriff. In compliance with this law, the auditor issues two sheriff’s reports each year: one reporting on the audit of the sheriff’s tax account, and the other reporting on the audit of the fee account used to operate the office.
Auditing standards require the auditor’s letter to communicate whether the sheriff’s settlement presents fairly the taxes charged, credited, and paid in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The sheriff’s settlement is prepared on the regulatory basis, which is described in the auditor’s opinion letter. Regulatory basis reporting for the sheriff’s settlement is an acceptable reporting methodology, and this reporting methodology is followed for all 120 sheriff settlements in Kentucky.
The sheriff’s financial statement fairly presents the taxes charged, credited, and paid for the period May 16, 2020, through April 15, 2021, in conformity with the regulatory basis of accounting.
The auditor noted no instances of noncompliance. The auditor also noted no matters involving internal control over financial reporting and its operation that were considered to be material weaknesses.
The sheriff’s responsibilities include collecting property taxes, providing law enforcement, and performing services for the county fiscal court and courts of justice. The sheriff’s office is funded through statutory commissions and fees collected in conjunction with these duties.
“One of my main goals when elected as sheriff, was to oversee all aspects of the duties as sheriff and set expectations of transparency and accountability throughout the agency. Tax and fee collection is one of the major responsibilities of the agency,” said sheriff Stratton. “When taking office, I knew we needed to put new procedures in place, provide more training, and as sheriff, I needed to be a part of that process. I can’t commend my office staff, Samantha Epley and Lindsey McReynolds, enough for their commitment to customer service and ensuring business is handled properly. A great office staff is vital, and I am blessed to have that.”
Stratton said at a time when very few sheriff’s offices were applying for APU Audits, he decided it was a step this office should take.
“In January 2021, we were approved for AUP audits, which is an audit that is estimated to cost 25% to 50% less than a traditional audit. This provided me the opportunity to save the county and taxpayers on the overall cost of our statutorily required annual audits. As sheriff, I am always looking to improve and be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. I am very excited to know we have good procedures in place, have had clean audits during my term in office, and qualified for this type of audit the first time we applied,” said sheriff Stratton.
The audit report can be found on the auditor’s website.