SHELTON — There’s a $14 million hole in Mason County’s proposed 2018 budget because the sheriff’s office did not submit the department’s current expense operational budget.
So says county Auditor Karen Herr, who reported the preliminary budget issue to the county commissioners Tuesday.
“Therefore, we could not accept, audit, or present their current expense salaries and operational budget for the year 2018,” Herr said in a memo to the commissioner that she brought to the commissioners Tuesday. “Since their salaries and operational budget constitutes a large portion of the current expense budget, the overall expenditure totals will appear considerably lower than usual.”
Theresia Ehrich, sheriff’s office chief administrative deputy, said the sheriff’s office was unable to submit account numbers because they are not available to the system. As soon as they are, she said she would place them in the system.
“We were just trying to make our budget more transparent … for the commissioners and the citizens,” Ehrich told the commissioners.
Said she respected the county auditor’s office and was making every effort to cooperate with it.
Commissioner Randy Neatherlin said there was an authoritative level to follow and
“You were asked to do the same as anybody else,” Neatherlin said. “It’s not a choice.”
Neatherlin asked that the sheriff’s office not “fight the system.”
Ehrich said that wasn’t the case.
Commissioner Kevin Shutty said he hoped the accounting shortfall would not slow down the county budget process.
Ehrich said it would not because she anticipated it taking only a day to submit the numbers.
Herr told the commissioners that the budget was highly structured and all departments needed to adhere to that structure.
She said it was the county commissioners’ opportunity to work with the sheriff’s office.