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AUDITOR GIVES HIGH MARKS TO DAVIS COUNCIL ON AGING

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An independent auditor gave the Davis Council on Aging a clean financial report Monday, saying the agency's rec-ords and handling of funds, especially federal grants, is in good shape.

Auditor Jerry Crouch of the Crouch and Wood auditing firm made a few suggestions to the agency in his report to the Davis County Commission. But the commission had already acted on most of the suggestions.The audit covered the type of services the council offers, eligibility, reporting, claims for advances and reimbursement of funds and use of matching funds with federal grants.

Although the council operates semi-independently with its own board of directors, the county commission appoints board members, funds the council's programs and senior citizen centers, and it is responsible for the council's compliance with state and federal regulations.

Crouch and Wood audited the agency through the end of 1988, Crouch reported, and concluded the agency does "a very good job" handling and accounting for its $9 million annual budget.

Crouch noted the agency operates under conflicting federal and state guidelines on accounting for contributions from users of its home nutrition or meals on wheels program.

It is required on the one hand to give participants the opportunity to voluntarily donate toward the cost of meals, but federal regulations prohibit keeping individual records of the donor's payments because of privacy restrictions.

That creates an accounting problem, he noted, generating funds that can't be traced precisely. The agency does keep a record of amounts billed and paid by individual recipients, which would appear to violate the regulations, he said.

But Crouch agreed the agency needs to track that money and the council's policy of not pressuring the recipient and keeping the records confidential appears to be a good compromise.

"The Council on Aging has determined that it is very important for us to continue to maintain a separate account for each homebound client showing amounts billed and amounts paid," the council stated in its reply to the finding.

"Federal auditors are inclined to believe that such a record would be used to harass the client. We do not put pressure on the client to donate the amounts they have agreed to," the council stated.

"We keep these records as a management tool and feel that the records are an essential part of our operations."

To the auditor's suggestion that the home-delivered meals program periodically be put out to bid, the council noted that was done for the coming year.

The meals beginning Oct. 1 are being prepared by the Weber/Morgan Senior Citizens Nutrition Program in Weber County rather than through the Davis School District's kitchens.

And, responding to another finding, the seniors council has obtained an $11,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Davis Council of Governments to do a needs assessment study in the county.