Northwest NEWS

February 18, 2002

Front Page

Duvall has fifth consecutive clean audit

by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   DUVALL—The city of Duvall has been given its fifth consecutive clean audit, according to a recent state auditor's report. The audit is for the year 2000.
   The auditor reported that the results for the city of Duvall were "in the areas tested, the city substantially complied with state laws and regulations and its own policies and procedures. We did not identify any areas that were significant enough to report as findings."
   The report also compliments the city on its compliance with state laws and thanks city officials and personnel for "their assistance and cooperation during the audit."
   Finance Director Dianne Nelson is very pleased with the report, noting the auditors "are generally stingy with their compliments and it is very rare for them to be in writing. It's unusual to hear nice things ... you always hear about the bad stuff."
   The report notes that past audit recommendations have "consistently been positively acknowledged and implemented by the city, and that city officials are committed to maintaining a comprehensive framework of internal controls to address its operational effectiveness and efficiency, legal compliance and financial reporting."
   It wasn't always that way, said Nelson, who has been finance director since November 2000.
   She said the city had a series of critical audits several years ago and credits former Mayor Glen Kuntz and the then-financial director with getting the city back on track.
   "They reworked all the policies to get the city in good shape again," she said. "It was tough times for the city back then."
   The worst audit report is "findings" she said, adding that if audits contain enough findings, the state may recommend the city unincorporate.
   "Duvall almost lost its city charter," she said. "The audits were so bad the state recommended the city unincorporate, but it didn't happen."
   Nelson said most cities are audited yearly, except for those who make arrangements for audits every other year.
   "We hope to eventually go to every other year to save money," she said. "Audits cost $13,000 to $14,000 so we can save money by doing it every other year, but with the turnovers in personnel in past years and all the problems, we have been doing it every year."
   Nelson said the audit takes about two months, with the auditors in town about a month.
   "They audit everyone in the office," she said. "They check compliance as well as financial practices, the police department, city clerk, documentation and computer software systems. They also monitor the minutes of the city meetings to make sure they are in legal compliance with our code."
   The city has a population of over 4,645 and operates on an approximate $9.5 million annual budget with 32 employees.
   "Having audits is a good thing," she said. "They force everyone to stay in line. The city is running very smoothly right now."