Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of 13 weekly columns on Clinton County departments leading up to the celebration of the courthouse’s 100th anniversary celebration. Today’s column features the Clinton County Auditor’s Office.
Terry Habermehl is your Clinton County Auditor. His staff has over 100 years of combined experience and includes: Chief Deputy Auditor Logan Bailey, Payroll Clerk Candy Maze, Real Estate Supervisor Kasey Eaglin, Senior Real Estate Specialist Danette Garringer, and Real Estate Clerks Carole Gaul, Deanna Liermann, JoAnn Quallen, and Kari Cunningham. Eric Keltner is the county Weights and Measures Inspector.
The Clinton County Auditor’s office is located in Suite 130 of the Clinton County courthouse.
The county auditor is the chief fiscal officer of the county. This is one of the most important functions performed by the auditor for county government.
It is the county auditor’s responsibility to account for the millions of dollars received each year by the county and to issue warrants (checks) in payment of all county obligations, including the distribution of tax dollars to the townships, villages, cities, school districts and library systems as well as other county agencies.
The auditor is the watchdog over all county funds and maintains the official records of all receipts, disbursements and fund balances.
As billpayer-in-chief, the auditor approves or rejects county agencies’ check requests to make sure that your tax dollars are spent properly. He also sees to it that federal and local taxes are distributed where they should go – to support schools, libraries, parks, seniors, and other services that you care about.
The county auditor is the bookkeeper for all county elected officials and many other county agencies such as Human Services and Children Services.
The county auditor also keeps books for many “outside” agencies such as park districts, health departments, soil and water conservation districts, and regional planning commissions.
As part of that bookkeeping responsibility, the county auditor pays all the bills for these groups. It is the Auditor’s responsibility to serve as the paymaster for all county employees.
As the issuer of financial reports for the county, it is the county auditor’s duty to make sure that financial records are kept properly. The county auditor maintains a close relationship with the Auditor of State’s office.
Each year, the Auditor of State reviews these records to assure the county’s finances are in order and that proper internal controls are in place. The Auditor of State tests these controls and makes recommendations to county offices and agencies to assure that your money is spent properly.
The auditor is also the payroll officer for the county. He must ensure that payroll records are accurate and that county employees are paid correctly and on time.
In addition to his fiscal responsibilities, the county auditor also establishes the real property value and calculates the property tax for every parcel of real estate within your county.
After the taxes have been collected by the county treasurer, the auditor then calculates how much of the money collected goes to each taxing district. Cities, villages, townships, school districts, park districts, and others depend on the auditor to do this quickly and accurately because these taxes are their lifeblood.
Responsibilities for local governments
The county auditor also helps watch over local governments within your county by:
• Estimating the tax a local government wants to put on the ballot according to what they define as their need;
• Issuing a certificate when the local government wants to borrow money assuring that the debt of that government does not exceed what is allowed by Ohio law;
• Preparing a certificate of estimated resources on behalf of local governments to assure that the local governments do not spend more than they can expect to receive;
• Distributing taxes to local governments including: real estate, property, cigarette, gasoline, motor vehicle, and other taxes; and
• Consulting, advising, and assisting local governments and county departments on proper governmental accounting procedures.
Other diverse duties
The county auditor has several important responsibilities including:
• Sealing gas pumps, scales and other measuring devices;
• Appraisal and assessment of property;
• Licensing dogs, vendors, and others;
• Calculating taxes and administering assessments;
• Administering tax exemptions for senior citizens, the disabled, charities, and churches; etc.
• Chairing and/or voting on many local governmental boards.
Auditor Terry Habermehl gives all credit to his outstanding staff.
He pointed out that while the duties listed above are ultimately his responsibility, “It is their dedication, experience, and expertise that allow the office to succeed.”