Fiscal Emergency

Hamilton Township Progressing Toward End of Fiscal Emergency Process

Hamilton Township was placed on fiscal emergency status by the Ohio State Auditor on April 9, 2014 due to negative balance accumulation in three accounting funds brought on by several internal control issues. Negative fund balances are in violation of State of Ohio statuary code regulating government accounting and fiscal management activities.

The Township took aggressive action including:  the appointment of a new fiscal officer; the installation of a modern government accounting software system; full training of the Township administrative and management staffs in the use of the new software; a complete review and revamp of financial procedures; and a realigning of administrative staff ensuring proper separation of duties.

A thorough investigation of the negative fund balance causes was done by the State Auditor’s Office, Auditor Office Local Government Services Division as well as internally by the new Fiscal Officer, Township Administrator and staff.  The Warren County Prosecutor’s office was also asked to investigate for any possible criminal issues.

There were no findings of criminal activity and no findings of any missing Township money.  The negative balances were caused by hundreds of accounting mistakes and incorrect accounting transactions over many years.  There was only one accounting finding that required the recovery of $6,834.00 due to an overpayment of funds. That amount has been repaid. All other corrections to the negative fund balances have been completed using accounting journal entries under the guidance and supervision of various county and state agencies and under the legal scrutiny of the Township Law Director and State of Ohio Tax Commission Counsel.

These accounting correction transactions now reflect the true status of the fund balances and therefore no negative balances exist. The financial ledgers now tie to, and balance to, the exact amount of Township cash and investments on hand.

Current operating practices and the accounting corrections indicate that the Township’s fiscal emergency problems are resolved. The Township is now operating under greatly improved financial procedures and scrutiny, and on October 27, 2014 the State Financial Planning and Supervision Commission approved the Township’s Financial Recovery Plan.  The State of Ohio needs to complete its examination and verification of the Township’s 2014 year-end financials (hopefully to be concluded in early to mid-2015). Once completed the Township should qualify to be released from fiscal emergency status by the Ohio State Auditor.

Contact:  Ray Warrick, Hamilton Township Fiscal Officer,  513 218 0937