FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GEAUGA COUNTY AUDITOR’S OFFICE CORRECTS FUEL TAX DISTRIBUTION TO MUNICIPALITIES
CHARDON, OHIO, October 15, 2018 – Geauga County Auditor Charles E. Walder announced today the correction of a 37-year old practice under prior Geauga County Auditors of improperly distributing Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax revenues to municipalities.
Several months ago the Auditor’s Office was part of a collaboration that discovered Geauga County’s municipalities were incorrectly receiving a fuel tax distribution from the Office that was not authorized by law. “As soon as we discovered this problem in April 2018, our Office immediately stopped monthly distributions, notified the affected municipalities, and began an investigation, working closely with the County Prosecutor’s and Engineer’s Offices,” said Mr. Walder.
This joint investigation revealed that prior Geauga County Auditors had been distributing fuel tax revenue to the six Geauga County municipalities, contrary to law, since 1981. The funds distributed, totaling approximately three million dollars, should have been distributed to the Geauga County Engineer’s Office. Additionally, the Geauga County Prosecutor has requested an Attorney General Opinion to determine what steps the county will be taking regarding these funds.
This issue was discovered and corrected through a collaboration that can partly be attributed to many of the positive accountability changes at the Auditor’s Office since Mr. Walder took Office in April 2018. Since April, Mr. Walder has hired a Compliance Officer who has been part of this investigation and correction process. Mr. Walder has also reevaluated the processes of the Auditor’s Office in order to provide more accountability of Geauga County fiscal operations.
“In addition to finding and correcting this issue, we have taken several steps to help prevent a similar occurrence in the future. Catching and correcting this mistake reflects our Office’s ongoing efforts to review and improve our practices, protocols, policies, and procedures. We are focused on internal improvement in order to safeguard the public’s funds,” said Mr. Walder.
Charles E. Walder
Geauga County Auditor
For more information, please contact Kate Jacob McClain, by email at [email protected] or phone (440) 279-1629.