Audit scolds Ferry County

Purchases in 2012 did not comply with federal rules

— Ferry County has been scolded by the Washington State Auditor’s Office for making purchases that didn’t comply with federal rules for school and road program funds.

The auditor questioned $23,692 in expenditures of U.S. Forest Service funds passed to the county through the state treasurer during 2012. The report and finding were released last week.

Grant guidelines say the county can use the money for certain search and rescue costs, including mission costs and to repair or replace equipment damaged ruing a search on federal forest land. The funding doesn’t allow costs for preparation for or in anticipation of emergency services, the auditor said.

The county also didn’t obtain some information required for payroll charges for a noxious weed and county road project, the audit found.

County officials didn’t understand the restriction on use of funds in the two programs, the auditor said.

In response, the county said the forest education project expenses were a legitimate use of the funds, and that the county was told the money was considered county money.

“Ferry County didn’t realize that the Forest Service could change the use of those funds after we agreed to their use and accepted the funds under those terms,” the county’s response said.

The weed funds were billed at a rate approved by the county weed board and at the same rate billed to other agencies, the county said.

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