The North Dakota State Auditor’s Office has completed a citizen-requested petition audit of the City of Lincoln. The audit identified 28 areas of concern spanning the audit period of 2016 to 2021 in three separate two-year audits. Some of these 28 findings included:
10 findings total, findings start on page 48 of the audit report. Some of these findings included the following issues:
Finding 6 (page 53) Missing documentation for water, sewer, and garbage.
The City of Lincoln did not record billing and collections correctly for water, sewer, and garbage collection. Because documentation was not maintained, there is no way to check if the billings to citizens were correct, or if the money collected was deposited into the correct fund. The total amount collected for these funds during the audit period was $2,725,278.
10 findings total, findings start on page 46 of the audit report. Some of these findings included the following issues:
Finding 7 (page 52) Tax levies for the city possibly calculated incorrectly.
Tax levies are assessed to citizens from cities to pay for city services. It’s important for cities to calculate the correct amount for tax levies so citizens pay the correct rate. The City of Lincoln did not include estimated cash amounts in their 2018 and 2019 budgets. Because of this, tax levies may have been incorrectly calculated.
8 findings total, findings start on page 47 of the audit report. Some of these findings included the following issues:
Finding 8 (page 54) Bank reconciliations net difference of $208,089.
Bank reconciliations are important because they check your internal financial records against bank records. The reconciliation process helps detect financial discrepancies. The audit team found the City of Lincoln general ledger cash balance was $208,089 higher than what was reported in the bank.
In addition, a separate special examination of the City was performed which identified $13,752 in questioned costs during the timeframe of May 3, 2020, until May 2, 2022. The Auditor’s Office is required by law to conduct a special investigation when a local government submits a bonding claim to the State Bonding Fund.
The current Clerk of Court and City Auditor were not in their positions during the audit period. There have been multiple auditors for the City of Lincoln over the past six years.