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Auditor's Error Costs Monroe County More Than $120K

Last updated on Thursday, January 24, 2013

(BLOOMINGTON) - A clerical error made in the Monroe County Auditor’s Office last summer that was detected too late means the county is out $120,600 for 2013

Auditor Steve Saulter, who took office in January, but worked in the auditor's office prior to that, confirmed that the excess tax levy the county sought in order to make up for lost revenue from a previous auditor's office clerical error would not be granted.

In fact, the request for extra tax money was never even considered by the Department of Local Government Finance, the state agency that oversees county budgets. That's because on the line where the $120,600 excess levy amount was supposed to be listed, it says "$0."

The general fund total - $15.2 million - did include the amount, but the legally advertised budget failed to list the levy on a separate line as required.

It's possible the state would have denied the extra tax levy request, but likely that at least half would have been allowed, Saulter says.

The good news? Property owners won't be assessed any extra on their tax bills, although the small amount per home would hardly have been noticed.

Saulter says the buck stops with him. He takes responsibility for the mistake, but says there is no way to recoup the money. Most of it was designated for the county general fund, although $3,433 was earmarked for the aviation fund and $4,266 for the county health fund.

He says it's possible appeals regarding two other areas of the budget might bring forth some money to help cover the loss, but maybe not.

"We can't count on that," the auditor says.

The county council has asked the auditor to implement mandatory reviews of financial documents to avoid future errors.

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