Glacier County Commissioners Mary Jo Bremner and John Overcast adopted the June 2021 cash reconciliation report at the July 22 meeting of the commissioners in Cut Bank but not without some discussion.
Commissioner Overcast agreed to approve the report but stated, “It’s just not accurate.” He referenced the July 20 meeting with Montana Department of Administration and Department of Revenue officials in which they stated they were still waiting on supporting documentation dating back to the January 2020 cash reconciliations.
Chairwoman Bremner disagreed. “I think they are accurate,” she stated, adding she has signed the cash reconciliations and have been submitted on time, claiming state officials are behind in accepting them.
Bremner stated County Treasurer Don Wilson has said he has submitted all the information and she was not going to debate the matter.
A copy of the June 2021 cash reconciliation was not available at press time.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Elaine Mitchell asked to see the June report which the commissioners had just approved. After reviewing, Mitchell stated the report didn’t balance, pointing to the different totals on the cash report and the bank statements. “They have to balance,” she stressed.
Mitchell reiterated she has been trying to help county officials for the past eight years in this area and she, along with the county’s taxpayers, are frustrated.
In trying to address the issue with Treasurer Don Wilson, Mitchell said she has been told the matter is “fake news.” Mitchell said she has proof that it is not.
Bremner stated she believes Wilson is a “competent, intelligent man” and that the cash reports have been accepted by the state. Mitchell corrected her, stating the reports were submitted but have yet to be accepted.
After some more back and forth discussion on the status of the reports, Bremner said she needed to hear from State officials the reports the county has been sending in haven’t been accepted.
Also during the public comment portion of the July 22 meeting, Becky Kimmet of the Library Board addressed Bremner on the status of the county library’s budget.
Kimmet told her the preliminary budget worksheets the Library Board received from Chief Financial Officer Chancy Kittson on July 21 had additional cuts, with instructions to review and send back by July 23. “Our budget keeps going down and down.”
Bremner had earlier told Library Board members as well as other county departments she expected they would have their budgets “make whole” in FY 2022. She apologized to Kimmet, saying she had been overly optimistic.
Bremner first stated the upcoming budgets would be frozen at the FY 2021 levels and was under the impression there would be no further cuts. After hearing Kimmet’s concerns she said she would check with Kittson. “Maybe we can do a little more for the library,” she added.
Questions about what direction department heads were given in formulating their FY 2022 budgets were referred by Bremner to Kittson, who had not responded to those questions by press time.
Bremner said questions posed July 2 and July 15 on the audit also remained unanswered by Kittson as of press time.
There seemed to be some disagreement between Glacier County officials and the Department of Administration (DOA) at the July 20 meeting in Helena on the status of the county’s cash reconciliations.
County officials contend DOA has everything it needs to review and accept monthly reconciliations dating back to January 2020. State officials report they are still missing documents which would allow them to move forward in reviewing and accepting the last 18 months of cash reconciliations.
The Department of Administration issued the following statement to clarify what information is still outstanding. As soon as DOA receives the outstanding documentation, which is listed below, “it will be our first priority to review the reconciliations to date,” they assured.
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The Department of Administration (DOA) is not behind on processing the information that Glacier County has submitted. Due to the nature of cash reconciliations, the accounts cannot be reconciled until the previous month is complete. DOA has not received complete documentation for January 2020 and February 2020, therefore is unable to finalize subsequent reconciliations.
While Glacier County has submitted documentation for July 1, 2020 through June 31, 2021, DOA is unable to review those reconciliations until the January 2020 and February 2020 documentation is received. As soon as DOA receives the outstanding documentation, listed below, it will be our first priority to review the reconciliations to date.
•Prospera Account # 2130-4558 statement with financial institution’s ending balance visible.
Glacier County submitted a statement from their bank with a hand-written $0 balance indicated, but the bank’s statement doesn’t actually reflect a $0 ending balance (only a settlement amount of $252,318.80). A hand-written note is not a sufficient way to provide information. DOA requested an official statement from the institution, which is standard practice.
•Evidence of closure of Buchanan Prospera Account # 2130-4558, or a statement from the institution reflecting ending balance of $0 for this period and each month thereafter.
•Evidence of closure of LPL Financial for Account # 1015-3804, or a statement from the institution reflecting ending balance of $0 for this period and each month thereafter
•Evidence of closure of DA Davidson Account #3352-6017, or a statement from the institution reflecting ending balance of $0 for this period and each month thereafter
Dates Glacier County submitted cash reconciliations receipts to the Department of Administration:
•Reconciliation time frame July 2020 – January 2021 was received April 19, 2021.
•Reconciliation time frame February 2021 was received March 19, 2021.
•Reconciliation time frame March 2021 was received April 18, 2021.
•Reconciliation time frame April 2021 was received May 17, 2021.
•Reconciliation time frame May 2021 was received June 17, 2021.
Reconciliation time frame June 2021 was received July 15, 2021.
The county supplied all bank statements, aside from what is listed above, for the time period listed above.
One example to note regarding supporting documentation is that a hand-written note indicating a $0 ending balance is not sufficient. DOA needs to have a statement from the institution, reflecting that balance, which is the standard practice.