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State auditor’s office gives the City of Poulsbo a good report

POULSBO — Sometimes the very mention of the word “auditor” can make even the most confident city finance director shudder, but once again Little Norway has sailed through its own audit with flying colors.

The city’s finances are audited on an annual basis by the Washington State Auditor’s Office and the most recent report showed that the city was in compliance with state laws and regulations.

“This year, we felt good about the areas they examined, because they were definitely areas we would want someone to look at,” said Finance Director Nanci Lien.

Areas investigated included internal controls, cash reports, accounts receivable and other various financial items.

“They usually take a lot of financial information ahead of time and things pop out that they want to take a look at,” she said, adding that new vendors for the city or increases in overtime hours for departments from previous years typically warrant a closer review. “They really look at various areas of the financial world and then come back with lots of questions.”

Once staff from the state auditor’s office arrive in town, their visit typically lasts about six weeks.

“The city has a pretty good set up and they have a small office downstairs that they use,” she said.

That set up allows both representatives from the state auditor’s office and city staff to work closely throughout the audit process without any major inconveniences, Lien explained.

“We don’t see them as someone coming to look for something wrong,” she said. “We always see them as kind of a partner.”

One of the things past audits have shown, said Lien, is a need for tightened internal controls, which have ultimately benefitted the city. In fact, the city’s finance department is doing more with less as it has had its staff reduced by 2.5 full-time employees in the past few years.

“I want to commend the staff, because we’ve still been able to do it in a relatively short period of time,” she said.

Councilman Mike Regis, who serves on the council’s finance/administration committee, welcomed the auditor’s report as a sign that the city is doing things right.

“We have always had good reports and the staff works extremely hard on this,” Regis said. “It’s a sign that all systems are go.”

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