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07/17/2019

County Making Changes to Satisfy IRS

 

Mississippi County will be making changes to payroll distribution after being penalized by the Internal Revenue Service.

During Monday afternoon’s Finance Committee meeting, Mississippi County Judge John Alan Nelson informed justices of the peace that roughly 18 months ago the Arkansas State Legislative Audit had requested the county change the way payroll was distributed. Nelson said at the time the county was distributing paychecks on Friday and it wasn’t a “true work week” ending on Saturday.

Nelson said auditors wanted the county to change it where Saturday was the last day of the week and then Monday any changes could be made that weren’t caught on Friday, with payroll coming out on Tuesday.

“Well, what happened is when we submitted our payroll liabilities they left the county on a Friday. For some reason the IRS doesn’t post when they get it; they post it on a Monday,” Nelson explained. “So, we were given three days but we were one day late for over a year apparently...Last Wednesday, they told us that we needed to pay $10,274 in penalties.”

Nelson continued, “This weekend I contacted (State Senator) Dave Wallace and Courtney Nance, who is a field representative for Senator Boozman, and then (Monday morning) I spoke with two more representatives from Senator Boozman’s office, the middle one was Mr. Higgenbothom over in Jonesboro and then Kathy Watson is over the Fort Smith office so she deals more directly with things like the Internal Revenue Service. I have since gotten an email from her. All I have to do is sign it and in fact I am going to sign it as soon as I get back after this meeting and send it back to her and that will give them the paperwork that they need so that they can intervene and speak on our behalf. I have expressed to them how much this needs to be done in a hurry because Friday is the last day and we don’t want to aggravate the Internal Revenue Service anymore then we have to. I feel confident that we can at least get that mitigated, if not abated.”

Justice of the Peace Michael White, who chairs the Finance Committee, added it wasn’t anyone’s fault.

Nelson responded, “No, we did everything the auditors wanted us to do immediately. We did everything the IRS wanted us to do immediately.”

Also, Judge Nelson spoke about mowing the interstate.

He has been working with District 10 engineer Brad Smithee on the interstate being cut and cleaned up. Nelson stated Smithee realized some issues with the interstate system in Mississippi County and that they were going to “make changes” in the way they handle the interstate system.

White also mentioned in the meeting that while looking at the budget he had seen a problem with the Sheriff’s Departments overtime pay line item.

“I don’t know if we just didn’t budget enough or if it’s just up that much more. He’s over,” White explained. “That is just in the Sheriff’s regular general fund budget. He’s at 154 percent but he didn’t budget but $15,000 and right now we are at $23,218 and we are only halfway through the year.”

Sheriff’s Department Captain Robb Rounsavall stated he thinks it’s because of coverage and being short handed. Rounsavall added they had four or five positions open.

Financial Director Kelli Jones said Sheriff’s Department employees are paid time and a half when they work overtime.

White said since they are aware of it now they will be looking into possibly budgeting more money for the account.

Overall, White said the county is 50 percent through the year on the budget.

White said the county general budget is only at 41 percent, county roads at 34 percent, county landfill at 32 percent and county jail at 42 percent.

At the end of the meeting, White handed out the JESAP reports and asked everyone to look over them.

Then, there will be a meeting at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday regarding county employee raises.