Mt. Vernon Register-News

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February 21, 2014

New claims policy tabled

MT. VERNON — A policy to restructure the payment of claims by Jefferson County government was proposed, but tabled, at Thursday’s meeting of the Fiscal Committee.

The policy, according to Treasurer Dan Knox, would improve the county’s monthly cash flow.

Knox explained claims are consistently 60 days past due and the county’s process of paying demand claims when cash flow allows and monthly claims approved at the full County Board meetings worked when the county’s cash flow was significant when the county was housing ICE prisoners.

Since that time, cash flow has deteriorated, and the county is holding checks for 60 to 90 days.

“This is bad business practice and bad accounting practice and not part of the best practice of safeguarding for the county,” Knox said. “The solution is to get vendors paid in a more timely manner,” he added.

Knox and Administrative Assistant Suzy Tate made recommendations to move away from the monthly claims process and to limit the demand claims even more — suggesting approving claims twice per month, but only those claims the county has money for. That way, the county is not holding checks for 60 to 90 days at a time, it was reported.

Possible solutions suggested is for the County Board to give the Fiscal Committee authority to approve claims twice a month and then the full board would give final approval. Under this proposal, the Fiscal Committee would meet twice monthly — once briefly on the first Thursday of the month and then it’s regular monthly meeting on the third Thursday of the month. This option gives the County Board more authority over the bills, it was rationalized. The second option would give Tate, along with the county chairman, the authority to approve claims twice monthly and then the County Board would have final approval at its regular monthly meeting on the fourth Monday of each month. Under the second option, the need for the Fiscal Committee two meet twice per month would be eliminated.

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