The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office overspent its 2017 budget by more than $220,000, according to a recently released audit.
State Auditor Mike Harmon released the audit of the 2017 financial statement of former Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton’s fee account. State law requires an annual audit of each county sheriff, specifically the fee account, which has funds used for operations, and the tax account.
Auditors found that the final fourth quarter report did not accurately reflect total receipts and that Melton overspent his approved budget by over $220,000 in the 2017 calendar year.
Some receipts, amounting to over $42,000, were double-posted to the financial statement and the receipts ledger for the FCSO, according to the audit. Receipts for the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund, which was over $121,000, were omitted from the financial statement and receipts ledger.
The office overspent its approved budget because of “inaccurate financial records and a lack of management oversight,” the auditor’s office said. Melton did not monitor the budget to actual amounts, showing a “lack of fiscal responsibility” and placing “public funds at risk."
Melton declined comment Tuesday, referring a reporter to a written statement he gave the state auditor.
According to a press release, Melton told state auditors that he was “proud to serve the citizens of Franklin County for over eight years” and he spent funds and staff to “address critical public safety issues.” He said that FCSO collected over $200 million in taxes while he was in office and “every single penny was accounted for.”
Melton added that administrative issues found in the audit were either corrected or in the process of being corrected.
The response is the same one he gave when auditors released the 2017 audit of the tax settlement in June. That audit flagged FCSO for three instances of noncompliance.
“During my tenure, no funds were missing and my team dedicated to make this county a safer place to live, work and play,” Melton said in the statement given to auditors.
The auditor’s office recommends that FCSO establish controls to ensure that ledgers use actual amounts that are received and disbursed as well as ensure that correct amounts are on all financial statements shown to the public and the Department of Local Government and comply with state law. Auditors further recommend that FCSO not make disbursements over the approved budget and that the sheriff monitors the budget throughout the year and request budget amendments if necessary.
Melton was defeated by current Sheriff Chris Quire in last year's election.