Madera County Auditor-Controller Todd Miller, recently announced to the Board of Supervisors that certified audited financial statements for 125 county Special Districts had been completed, a process done for the first time in years.
Special Districts include road maintenance districts, water systems and lighting districts owned by residents of a specific area and managed by the county, each of which has a unique set of financial protocol. The County of Madera has one of the largest number of Special Districts in the state.
He estimated that all but about 27 of the special districts are in the mountains.
“We had some problems come from the fact that no one had ever followed all of the procedures necessary to prepare a certified audit,” Miller said. “We had to go back to the formation of each district to verify whether the district of the county owned the assets of each district.”
For many years the county has subsidized these districts, but as the costs continued to rise, rates were raised to residents in many districts to cover costs - but with no audits the supervisors have had no way of knowing what the costs are to operate them or what they are earning in rates.
“Although state mandated, the audits of our Special Districts have not been performed for many years, if ever,” Miller told the supervisors on Dec. 12. “Without reliable financial information, the residents within these districts, the county employees that work for those districts and you, the board of supervisors, who have a duty to manage Special Districts, have been handicapped in their ability to provide the best services to our Special Districts.”
Miller credited his accounting staff with completing the audits without having to put in any overtime.
Board Chairman Max Rodriquez congratulated and thanked Miller stating “accurate financial statements make our jobs easier.”
The auditor-controller is elected by the voters in Madera County and serves a four year term. Miller is in the third year of his first term.