WCESD #4 may contract with City for accounting

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By Christine Bolaños

The Williamson County Emergency Services District No. 4’s Board of Commissioners is considering partnering with the City of Liberty Hill on staff resources and accounting software.

“We talked with the City of Liberty Hill Manager (Greg) Boatright. We’re looking into sharing a position with them for an accountant and some administrative services,” Fire Chief Anthony Lincoln told The Independent Wednesday in reference to issues discussed at the Board’s meeting May 18.

The City does not currently employ the position, but is looking at filling it with a full-time staffer. The ESD would contract with the City to utilize the employee’s service as well as the software.

“We’re at the point that we need that layer of bookkeeping to have the checks and balances,” Lincoln said.

He said the City began using Incode accounting software about a year ago and the ESD is now at a point to begin using the program as well. He said the software is more advanced and better equipped to handle the ESD’s needs than Quickbooks.

The ESD would pay a one-time charge of $10,000 to set up the software.

“After you outgrow Quickbooks you use that. We’re trying to move to the next level up there. It’s just a bigger level of accountability. It has a better trail tracking system because everybody signs in, you have to get on under a code that tracks what you’ve done while you’re in there,” Lincoln said.

According to the Chief, the City would charge the ESD $26,000 to pay for its portion of accounting and administrative services that would be fulfilled by the full-time employee.

The ESD Board asked the City of Liberty Hill to draw up a contract detailing the cost and services.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the Board accepted the annual audit for the 2013-14 year performed by Medack and Oltman, LLP.

The Giddings-based firm was able to finish its audit months after revealing discrepancies in payroll that led to the arrest and termination of Administrative Assistant Tiffany Wells. No other discrepancies were found, according to Lincoln. Wells confessed to stealing $42,000.

The Board held off on its decision on whether or not to hire an auditor to conduct a forensic audit of the ESD books. At an estimated $200 per hour, it could cost taxpayers as much as $5,000 to conduct a one-year critical audit.

The Board has repeatedly tabled the item based on a recommendation from its lawyer.

“We’re waiting on whether the prosecution thinks there needs to be one or not,” Lincoln said. “They (the auditor) hasn’t identified anything else.”

The ESD’s lawyer said the Board’s votes taken in April were valid amid some uncertainty due to a 2-1 vote in light of two board members’ absences. The votes counted because they were a majority vote.

The board set its next meeting for Monday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Liberty Hill Fire Station, 301 Loop 332.

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