Chesterton Tribune

 
 

County corrects violations cited in audit for E911

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Indiana State Board of Accounts (SBA) released several audit reports over the course of last week for Porter County detailing activities from 2011 and said the county was not properly using surcharge funds collected from phones that support the county’s Enhanced 911 fund.

The audit questions why money received from phone companies for landline and wireless phones charged to consumers were deposited into the same fund – the Enhanced Access Fund – and not into separate funds as called for in the Indiana statutes.

The reason for having separate funds, the audit said, is so that specific disbursements can be from landline fees that are different than those collected from wireless phones.

“With all money co-mingled into one fund and disbursed from the same fund, we were unable to determine if disbursements were in compliance with the appropriate statutes for each fee type,” the SBA said.

From the landline fees, the county may purchase equipment and pay personnel expenses for example while the wireless funds are to pay for personnel training and educating consumers about responsible use of the 911 service.

The audit found it questionable that the county was expending funds on office supplies and lockers for dispatchers which are not designated uses according to the statute.

Response

Porter County Attorney Betty Knight responded to the SBA saying that the commissioners are aware of the allowed uses for the money and would have the issue corrected. The infractions took place under the previous administration of the E-911 and current communications director John Jokantas has made the corrections.

Jokantas said when he was hired a year ago, the surcharge funds were combined by his predecessors and the funds were split when the 2012 budget was made up.

But on July 1, a new law went into effect that requires all counties to give the state all the surcharge money and the state now sends the county a check with the funds co-mingled.

The wireless and landline money can now be used for the same purposes, Jokantas said.

Jokantas also mentioned the office supplies were purchased because the County had nothing in its General Fund budget but this has since been corrected this year as an E-911 line item has been created within the General Fund.

 

 

Posted 9/26/2012