CPA: Mineral County Schools' audit 'clean'

Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
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KEYSER - An independent auditor has reported that Mineral County Schools had no findings in their financial statements audit for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.

Les Harbour, CPA with The Fyffe Jones Group, told the Mineral County Board of Education this week that, despite the unknowns imposed upon all county school boards by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mineral County’s audit was clean and “one of the easier ones we’ve done this year.”

He praised Rhonda Martin, CSBO/treasurer for the school system, both for her assistance in the audit and in her expertise in keeping the county’s books.

“The numbers she gave us were clean; we were able to find all we needed and we were able to ‘get in and get out’ of the audit fairly quickly,” Harbour said.

Noting that his firm has audited 12 other West Virginia school districts, he said, “This was one of the few counties where we didn’t have to propose any adjustments.”

Harbour briefly went through the 79-page report with the board members Tuesday, explaining that the audit - like every other county - showed differences from previous years’ results due to the pandemic.

“There was very little insight in how to handle this and how long it’s going to last,” he said.

According to Harbour, however, Mineral County continued to financially “perform well” despite the pandemic, and where some expenditures might have gone up due to actions deemed necessary by COVID-19 regulations, others went down.

“For the other counties I’ve done, expenditures have been all over the place,” he said. “Everybody has scrambled and tried to adapt as best as they can to the COVID pandemic. You’ll see a lot of items that stayed pretty steady … (for example) your salaries are roughly the same,” he said, adding that the expenditures that did decrease were in the cost of paying substitutes.

“They fluctuated mostly due to not needing as many subs as you did in prior years,” he said.

“In the end, things kind of settled out,” Harbour said, adding, “That means you guys are keeping close tabs on your expenses.

“Some counties over spent and it got them in trouble. You guys have kept your  head on straight during this,” he said.