Henderson County Taxpayers Lost Money on New Patrol Cars, Tennessee Audit Says

Henderson County officials didn’t seek out competitive bids for four patrol cars that cost nearly $100,000, according to an audit Tennessee Comptrollers released this week.

Because of this, taxpayers lost out, Comptrollers said in the audit.

“As a result, the best and lowest price may not have been obtained for the purchase of the patrol cars,” auditors wrote.

Comptrollers said they selected a sample of 82 disbursements totaling $1,012,188 from a population of 7,662 vendor checks totaling $16,909,467.

“Our examination revealed that competitive bids were not solicited for four patrol cars that cost $98,548. Purchasing procedures for the county are governed by the County Financial Management System of 1981, which requires competitive bids to be solicited through newspaper advertisement on all purchases exceeding $25,000. This deficiency is the result of a lack of management oversight.”

The county’s finance director, not identified by name in the audit, responded to Comptrollers.

“For several years, the county has budgeted funds for the purchase of patrol cars. In recent years, the purchase price for each patrol car has remained slightly below the required bid guidelines,” the finance director wrote.

“Considering this, management did not solicit bids, which is in-line with purchases under $25,000 per the county’s purchasing guidelines, and as good stewards of taxpayer money, the Sheriff’s Department worked with local vendors to obtain competitive quotes. However, our auditors have notified the county that the consolidated purchase, which includes several patrol cars that were purchased at different times, would be taken in consideration when satisfying bid requirements. We have corrected the issue for the current fiscal year.”

Comptrollers also said county officials had a nearly $70,000 cash overdraft in its School Federal Projects Fund.

In response, the county’s finance director said this in the audit:

“Our School Federal Projects Fund is funded by federal dollars and reimbursed on a monthly basis by the state. Around the end of the 2018 school year, management experienced turnover in the bookkeeper position; and therefore, we contacted the State Department of Education regarding our reimbursement requests,” the finance director said.

“We were notified that our requests would be processed, but due to scheduling conflicts, the state was not available for immediate assistance. This caused the reimbursements to be deposited after the beginning of the next fiscal year, leaving a small deficit in cash. The State Department of Education was fully aware of the situation, and funds were reimbursed as promised.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Henderson County Sherriff’s Vehicle” by 
Henderson County.











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One Thought to “Henderson County Taxpayers Lost Money on New Patrol Cars, Tennessee Audit Says”

  1. Old Hickory

    Henderson County did not lose money on the 4 patrol cars because they were not competitively bid (otherwise known as advertised in the newspaper), it appears to me they received a fair price.