A county reporting error led to incorrect data on Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2016 income and expenses, the SPLOST Citizens’ Oversight Committee was told Wednesday.
Committee member Jane Fraser pressed county staff members on inconsistencies in SPLOST 2016 documentation during the meeting.
According to Glynn County Chief Financial Officer Tamara Munson, the errors occurred when an employee used the wrong formulas in a spreadsheet created to track SPLOST income and expenses. The employee who made the mistake is no longer employed at the county.
“There were quite a few errors I was able to locate,” Munson said. “Right now, I feel 95 percent correct with what’s been published and I am still continuing to check everything from prior years.”
The person in charge of the spreadsheet had nothing to do with managing SPLOST money, county spokesman Matthew Kent emphasized after the meeting. Any errors in the spreadsheet, available on the county’s SPLOST website, do not reflect actual errors in accounting for SPLOST funds, he explained.
At the root of the matter was a practice called “retainage,” Munson said. When paying a contractor, the county holds back 10 percent of the contract fee and pays it out once the contract is complete. In past years, retainage had not been properly accounted for and led to inaccurate numbers being presented to the public.
The committee was updated on the progress of SPLOST projects.
Just over 60 percent of the county’s projects have been completed.
“Now we’re down to the complicated ones that require land acquisition, right-of-way or approval by other agencies,” Kent said following the meeting.
Close to half of the expected revenue from the temporary 1 percent sales tax has been either spent or committed to expenditures.
Garrow Alberson, director of the city of Brunswick’s Public Works Department, spoke for the city. Of the 19 SPLOST-funded projects on the city’s list, seven are finished. As of Wednesday, the city had received $14.7 million in SPLOST revenue and spent $9.2 million of it.
Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission Executive Director Andrew Burroughs said the utility is making progress on its two SPLOST projects. It is wrapping up phase 2 of its 3-phase north mainland sewer rerouting project and beginning to overhaul a pump station in Brunswick.
The citizen committee’s next meeting is on Dec. 9.