Audit shows RTA hit with late fees

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — A 2018 state audit of the Allen County Regional Transit Authority found the organization paid $2,679 in late fees incurred by former Fiscal Officer Patricia Stein, who left the ACRTA in February 2019.

Of the total, $1,275.80 were paid in late fees and charges to “various retail stores and a bank” because Stein failed to pay invoices on time.

Additionally, Stein incurred $1,403.92 in penalties and interest on three separate occasions when she missed deadlines for the late reporting and payment of 2018 employee tax withholdings to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

To recover the funds, State Auditor Keith Faber has issued a finding against Stein in favor of the transit authority.

To avoid future problems, Faber further recommended that the ACRTA create additional procedures to ensure that the organization’s fiscal officer pays invoices and fulfills OPERS duties on time.

“The ACRTA should be making timely payments on all obligations. Failing to make timely payments, could result in unnecessary and excessive disbursements as well as possible finding for recovery in future audits,” the audit reads.

The corrective action plan subsequently submitted by the ACRTA relays that the organization will be able to avoid late bills now that it has “secured dedicated local funding” through the additional funds brought forward by the sales tax levy on the ballot in May 2019.

“During the very early part of 2019, we did incur late fees and expect a repeat finding. We worked closely with our contracted CPA during 2019 to improve our payment process and to better keep the board informed of our financial situation. Cash flow is no longer an issue for our agency,” the ACRTA’s response reads.

The ACRTA said that it will also cooperate with the state to recover any of the funds identified by the auditor’s office.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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