Local governments can employ lobbyists or belong to associations that employ lobbyists. The most direct way local governments pay for lobbying services is by hiring or contracting with a lobbyist. Local governments may also pay fees and dues to associations with lobbyists, although they often join such associations for other benefits they provide (e.g. training and professional development). It is possible such associations may not lobby on behalf of local governments. We selected a sample of the three largest counties, cities, and school districts in Kansas and asked them to report how much they paid for lobbying services. The nine local governments we reviewed reported paying $427,000 to lobbyists and $1,324,000 in fees and dues to associations with lobbyists in calendar year 2017. Finally, lobbyists have discretion in determining what services constitute lobbying, which creates a risk lobbyists may report different information to the Secretary of State.
Kansas Wildfire Management: Evaluating the Adequacy of Kansas' Wildfire Suppression System
Kansas’ wildfire suppression system is not adequately designed and resourced to effectively suppress wildfires based on best practices and a sample of other states. We compared Kansas’ wildfire suppression system to national best practices and systems in other Great Plains states. Kansas’ wildfire suppression structure generally aligned with best practices except that it relies on three entities instead of one. Kansas’ wildfire suppression system also has fewer state resources than other Great Plains states. Kansas’ lack of resources limits the availability of wildfire suppression training and the state’s ability to mitigate wildfire damage. Further, state and local officials reported education and coordination problems among entities involved in wildfire suppression. Finally, the state agencies involved in Kansas’ wildfire suppression system do not maintain complete wildfire management data. However, some large wildfires are unavoidable even if Kansas improves its wildfire suppression system.
Community Mental Health: Evaluating Mental Health Services in Local Jails
Kansas jails reported providing a mixture of recommended mental health services, but few provided discharge planning services or training for jail staff. We identified seven national standards for providing mental health services in jails. Most Kansas jails reported some of the recommended mental health services were available, but few reported all were available. Specifically, most jails reported mental health intake and some treatment services were available to inmates, although the types of treatment varied. However, only about one fourth of jails reported discharge planning services were available and less than half of jails reported they provided mental health training to jail staff. In addition, inmates may not receive needed mental health services after they leave jail due to challenges with things like housing, transportation, and a lack of service providers in rural communities. The additional costs required to ensure five jails we reviewed provided all recommended mental health services varied widely. We could not determine the additional costs for all Kansas jails to provide recommended mental health services because of a lack of data and the wide variance in resource needs. However, we estimated it may cost a sample of five jails an additional $25,000 to $375,000 annually to provide the recommended mental health services. Finally, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment currently terminates jail inmates’ Medicaid enrollment contrary to federal guidance. However, the effect may be small because KDHE is not regularly notified when Medicaid recipients enter jail.
Seized and Forfeited Property: Evaluating Compliance with State Law and How Proceeds Are Tracked, Used, and Reported
The Kansas Standard Asset Seizure and Forfeiture Act (K.S.A. 60-4101 et seq.) gives law enforcement agencies in Kansas authority to seize money or property acquired in connection with certain illegal activities. As part of this audit we compared the seizure and forfeiture process in Kansas to four states (Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and New Mexico) and the federal government. We found that Kansas is similar to the other states and the federal government in terms of what property can be seized by law enforcement agencies and under what conditions. However, we also found that requirements for forfeiting property, spending forfeiture proceeds, and reporting on forfeiture activity varied across all states we reviewed and the federal government. We also evaluated two state and four local law enforcement agencies’ processes for property seizures and forfeitures under the state’s Forfeiture Act. Although there were some exceptions, we found that all six law enforcement agencies adequately safeguarded seized property, appropriately liquidated forfeited property, and appropriately spent forfeiture proceeds. However, the six law enforcement agencies lacked important controls for tracking forfeiture proceeds. Additionally, although state law enforcement agencies complied with reporting requirements in state law, local agencies did not. As a result of this work, we also identified several other findings related to the seizure and forfeiture process. Overall, we found that agencies have broad discretion over how forfeiture proceeds can be used, which creates a risk agencies could begin to depend on them for operating funds. Specific to the law enforcement agencies we reviewed, we found that the Coffeyville Police Department’s arrangement with the Montgomery County Attorney to handle forfeiture cases creates a conflict of interest and that the Salina Police Department lacked important controls for money used for controlled drug buys. Finally, none of the law enforcement agencies we reviewed had complete and written policies and procedures for seized and forfeited property.
Department of Revenue: Examining Issues Related to the DMV Modernization Project
In July 2009, Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) officials signed a contract with the 3M Company to develop and implement a new motor vehicle information system referred to as the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Modernization Project. As of October 2014, the DMV Modernization Project is not complete and has fallen significantly behind schedule. The project has two phases. Phase One, the new motor vehicle system was deployed in May 2012; about 10 months late. Phase Two, the new driver’s license system has not been deployed and is nearly three years behind schedule. In May 2014, KDOR terminated its contract with 3M, and plans to complete Phase Two internally. Because the project is not complete, the total cost of the project is unknown. Several factors, including poor project management contributed to the project’s delay. Also, we found problems with the state’s oversight of the project including that external, independent risk assessments were discontinued before Phase One was implemented. Finally, project monitoring reports used by the state’s top IT officials and the Legislature did not always provide an accurate picture of the project’s status.
On behalf of KDOR, county treasurers and their staff register and title motor vehicles in Kansas. We estimate that county treasurers incurred about $2.0 million to $2.5 million in additional costs to implement Phase One. However, KDOR paid a total of about $560,000 to counties to help offset some overtime costs and also provided temporary staffing assistance to two counties. KDOR officials do not expect any stakeholders to incur additional costs to implement Phase Two. In addition, we estimate that counties incurred about $1 million in additional costs related to taking on new title-approval duties that were previously completed by KDOR. However, state law dictating how the title fee is split between the state and counties has not changed.
County treasurers reported a number of current problems with the new motor vehicle system (Phase One). In response to our May 2014 survey, nearly three-quarters of county treasurers told us the new system is often or always slow at processing transactions. They also expressed concerns about data problems in the new system, including inaccurate, duplicate or missing data. County treasurers also continue to experience problems with the new system’s equipment. Finally, county treasurers expressed concerns about KDOR’s ability to communicate and provide assistance.
Department of Revenue: Evaluating the Revenue Impact of Machinery and Equipment Classification and Valuation
County appraisers are responsible for classifying assets as real or personal property and appraising and maintaining records of those properties. The Division of Property Valuation within the Kansas Department of Revenue is responsible for providing oversight and guidance to county appraisers. Complex manufacturing plants represent a small portion of appraised property in Kansas and were the focus of our audit work because of a recent lawsuit. A targeted review of three ethanol manufacturing plants identified problems with county appraisers’ inconsistent classifications and valuation errors. We found Kansas’ computer assisted mass appraisal system does not work well for appraising these complex manufacturing plants. Further, we noted the division does not provide sufficient oversight and guidance for appraising these plants. These problems likely are limited to a small number of complex manufacturing properties. Lastly, we found some neighboring states also struggle with appraising complex properties, but the tax ramifications are different.
In 2012, the Legislature considered two bills to amend property tax laws. Senate Bill 317 would have changed how some commercial property was classified. Specifically, certain commercial fixtures (formerly real property) would be classified as personal property. We estimate this change would reduce statewide property tax revenues between $170 million and $500 million annually, over the long term. SB 317 would have had several other consequences in addition to its financial effects. The 2012 Legislature also introduced Senate Bill 59 which would have prevented appraisers from reclassifying certain personal property. We could not analyze the fiscal impact of the bill due to a lack of available data.
Illegal Immigrants: Reviewing Studies That Have Assessed Their Economic Impact
Researchers generally agree that the main areas where illegal immigrants increase governmental costs are education, healthcare, and criminal justice, but that illegal immigrants also pay property, sales, and some income taxes to offset governmental costs. It appears that most of the financial burden of illegal immigration is borne at the state and local level because illegal immigrants qualify for few federally funded benefits. The two most comprehensive studies reviewed concluded that the costs of illegal immigrants outweighed the revenues at the state and local level. Several less-comprehensive studies showed more mixed results because they focus on different levels of government or don’t consider all major costs or revenues attributable to illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants tend to be concentrated in low-skill, low-education industries such as farming, cleaning, and construction. National job market studies we reviewed showed that illegal immigrants have a negative impact on wages and job opportunities of low-skilled, least-educated native-born workers. Overall, Kansas-specific information is sparse: State agencies generally haven’t tried to identify specific costs or revenues attributable to illegal immigrants for Kansas. Similarly, neither the Kansas Department of Labor, nor any of the Kansas universities have tried to study the economic effect of illegal immigration on this State.
Thomas County Economic Development Alliance: Reviewing Its Procedures for Recording and Depositing Loan Payments
This audit looked at the way the Thomas County Economic Development Alliance records and deposits loan payments received. Given its size, the Alliance generally has adequate procedures except that it doesn’t send periodic statements to borrowers. The Alliance did make several errors in recording loan transactions, but those errors seemed to be isolated to one account. Some of those errors might have been detected and corrected sooner if statements showing payments and loan balances had been sent to the borrowers. All errors noted by the audit had been corrected.
Wireless Enhanced 911: Reviewing Implementation of the 2004 Act
In 2004, the Wireless Enhanced 911 Act was passed to encourage local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to update their emergency phone systems to handle calls from wireless phones. In all, officials from 61 of the State’s 115 PSAPs said they expected to have fully implemented a wireless E-911 system by the end of 2006, and all but one said they would complete implementation by 2010. Fees imposed on wireless subscribers under the Act generated approximately $21 million between July 2004 and November 2006. Through June 2006, PSAPs reported spending $6.7 million of that fee money, slightly more than half of which was spent on equipment, monitors, and software. We identified very few problems with the way fee moneys were spent. An early assessment of the adequacy of wireless E-911 funding had to involve many estimates, projections, and assumptions. Within the limitations those factors create, it appears that, on a Statewide basis, revenues generated between 2007 and June 30, 2010 (when the funding structure for the system changes) would far exceed estimated expenditures. Although many individual PSAPs would have difficulty covering all their estimated expenditures, there’s likely to be more than enough money in the Wireless Enhanced 911 Grant Fund to cover those shortfalls.
Register of Deeds Technology Fund: Reviewing the Amounts Collected and the Uses of Those Moneys(limited-scope audit)
The 2002 Legislature allowed counties to collect a $2-per-page technology fee on certain real estate transactions to provide upgraded equipment and technological services in the county register of deeds' offices. For 2003, that fee generated from $3,250 to $2.5 million in the 20 counties we reviewed. The 10 most populous counties collected an average of $600,000; the10 least populous counties averaged about $5,300. Technology fee receipts in 8 of the 10 most populous counties were actually greater than their register of deeds' entire operating budgets in 2003. About 94% of the $1.8 million in purchases we reviewed in Shawnee, Johnson, and Reno Counties was spent on equipment and technology services allowed by law. The Johnson County Register of Deeds spent about $112,000 (6%) on unallowable purchases such as office furniture, painting, and cleaning office areas. Although transfers to other county departments are allowed, Reno County officials didn't comply with the transfer provisions in the law when they bought equipment benefitting other county departments. We concluded the risk of spending technology funds on unallowed or unintended purposes will increase in the future, at least in the more populated counties, because these offices receive large and ongoing revenues from the technology fees, while their technology needs will be met over time.
City of Wichita: Examining the Provision of Emergency-Response Services in Newly Annexed Areas (limited-scope audit)
State law requires cities that unilaterally annex land to provide services after annexation that are equal to or better than those provided to the area by a township or special district before annexation. When Wichita unilaterally annexes land, law enforcement is the only emergency service that significantly changes; fire services are covered by a first-responder agreement between Wichita and the County Fire District, and ambulance services are provided county-wide. Police response times for 4 areas Wichita recently annexed significantly improved after annexation for lower-priority calls, but not for high-priority and emergency calls. Also, the Wichita Police don't respond in-person to all the property crimes the County Sheriff's Office responds to. Although the Sedgwick County Fire District continues to provide for services to the areas Wichita has annexed, it has lost about $41 million in its tax base to annexation, or about $500,000 annually in lost property taxes. On the other hand, in Johnson County we noted at least one instance of a city not receiving additional tax dollars for providing fire services to the new areas it annexed—the opposite problem from Sedgwick County.
Local Government Reorganization: Assessing the Potential for Improving Cooperation and Reducing Duplication
A number of factors make additional mergers of whole governments, as occurred with Kansas City and Wyandotte County, unlikely. However, many opportunities do exist for streamlining city and county governments by consolidating city and county departments; sharing staff, facilities, equipment, or other resources between departments; and purchasing items through cooperative agreements. Decisions to enter into these arrangements are local ones, and are often driven by the needs and attitudes of officials in individual cities and counties. In many cases, local officials are discouraged by a number of factors in pursuing these opportunities, most commonly the fear of losing control over how services are provided. Amending some State laws and taking certain actions other states have considered could encourage more consolidation and cooperation among local governments. However, significant changes won't come about unless local circumstances, such as tighter fiscal constraints, force a change. The same is true for other types of local governments we looked at, specifically townships, cemetery districts, and drainage districts. Kansas may not need all of these local units of government, mainly because their functions could be performed by county governments. But even if the objections of local officials in eliminating these units could be overcome, the cost savings would be minimal.
Financing Local Governments: Determining How to Avoid Future Problems Caused by State Revenue Shortfalls (100-hour audit)
Proposals to withhold State transfers to cities and counties from 3 revenue-sharing funds for the second half of fiscal year 2003 and all of fiscal year 2004 would amount to about 2% of their calendar year 2003 total budgets and about 5% of their general fund budgets. Even before these proposals, transfers from these 3 funds weren't entirely predictable--the Legislature hadn't appropriated the full amounts called for by statute for more than a decade. Options legislators may wish to consider to help cities and counties reduce their dependence on payments from the State fall into 4 broad categories: removing or raising caps on existing taxes or fees, allowing local units to redirect the use of taxes currently dedicated to specific purposes, allowing local units to institute new taxes, or repealing statutory requirements that result in increased expenses for local units. The audit lists pros and cons of these actions for a variety of taxes and fees.
Reviewing the Operations of the State Treasurer’s Office-Fiscal year 1999
This audit of the State Treasurer's Office is required by law. It was conducted by McBride Lock & Associates, an audit firm under contract with Legislative Post Audit. The audit addresses 7 questions about selected financial management responsibilities of the Treasurer's Office, mainly those involving that Office's custodial responsibilities for State moneys. In general, the audit found no significant deficiencies. The audit makes 7 recommendations for improvements, mostly in the areas of recordkeeping and documentation. The Treasurer's Office agreed with all the recommendations.
Use of Alcoholic Liquor Fund Moneys By Local Units of Government
In 1994, the 10 localities we visited spent about 85% of their Special Alcohol and Drug Program Fund moneys for programs that complied with the law. Another 11% of the moneys were used to pay for items that in our opinion did not comply with the law. Those expenses included prosecutors’ salaries, police vehicles, and administrative costs. For the remaining 4% of the moneys, the municipalities did not have sufficient documentation for us to determine whether the expenditures complied with the law. Although two counties made slight errors in distributing tax revenues from the State to their Special Alcohol and Drug Program Funds, localities generally have established reasonable procedures to ensure that the moneys awarded to outside agencies are spent according to the law.
Reviewing the Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal System
The audit shows that the original CAMA software and hardware cost nearly $5 million. Since 1988, the State has spent about $850,000 on CAMA software enhancements. In addition, the State and counties have spent more than $600,000 on hardware improvements. The CAMA System is capable of generating the sophisticated mathematical analyses necessary to value properties annually. The vast majority of county appraisers think the CAMA System generally works well, but could be improved. The types of problems county appraisers identified with the CAMA software and hardware do not appear to prevent the computer from producing good values, but they do make the System harder for some county appraisers to use. However, a number of information-related problems appear to be hindering the effectiveness of the CAMA System. Those include problems related to the valuation of both commercial and residential properties, appraisers’ education and training, and communication. The Department of Revenue has assembled a task force to evaluate the current Kansas CAMA System and make recommendations regarding its future.
Reviewing the Process for Issuing Bonds in Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas
Both the City and the County have followed State law regarding the selection of bond professionals, but they have not consistently followed a number of good business practices suggested in the bond literature we reviewed. Our review of bond issuance costs was hampered by incomplete data and proved inconclusive--issuance costs were lower about as often as they were higher. For a sample of negotiated bonds we reviewed, the City appeared to have paid an estimated $2 million in additional interest because the interest rates were set high relative to the market. The City saved about $6.6 million and the County $1 million for the sample of bond refundings we reviewed, but the City has postponed large amounts of debt into the future. Over the past decade the municipalities have spent more than $6 million on bond insurance. The City more than recovered the amount of the insurance premium through lower interest rates on one of the bonds it insured. For the other bonds, information was not available to determine whether the premiums were recovered through lower interest rates. However, the premiums generally were not recovered through other means available to the municipalities. We found that it was fairly commonplace for bond professionals to make political contributions to elected officials. Although we did not find any interrelationships between the bond professionals and the elected officials, we noted that three former City employees work for firms that have served in a lead role on many of the City’s negotiated bond deals.
Reviewing the Efficiency of Central Services In the Wichita School District
Most large school districts we contacted have central service facilities, but most do not provide services such as pest control, trash disposal, and roofing repair with district employees, as Wichita does. When viewed on a per-square foot basis, the Wichita school district's annual operations and maintenance costs were about 14 percent, or $3.8 million, higher than the average of other large districts in Kansas. About $1.3 million of Wichita’s higher costs were caused by higher electrical rates, and about $1 million could be attributed to leave policies and other fringe benefits that are more generous than other area public sector employers' benefits. We also found that the district had more vehicles than it needed, had excess inventories of supplies, had not aggressively explored ways to save money by contracting for services, and did not have systems to ensure that maintenance employees work efficiently. The district is installing a warehouse inventory system that will reportedly save $900,000 in each of three years, and is considering a proposal that could save it $700,000 annually in transportation costs.
Reviewing the Regulatory Activities of the Emergency Medical Services Board
The audit shows that, although its licensing actions could lead to consolidation of ambulance territories, the Emergency Medical Services Board does not have formal policies for consulting with parties affected by its actions. The Board provides assistance to communities that request it, and the level of assistance provided to the City of Pittsburg was similar to what it provided to other communities. The Board appeared to have erred by not notifying or involving Crawford County officials when it signed an agreement with the City of Pittsburg requiring the City and County to take certain actions.
Reviewing Selected Issues Regarding Uniform and Equal Appraisal of Property in Kansas
The plan the Division of Property Valuation submitted to the District Court to correct problems with property valuation in Kansas addressed many of the problems which led to unequal property valuation, but was not very specific about how the Division intended to implement the solutions. In addition, some of the Division's proposed actions appeared overly ambitious based on what its staff has been able to accomplish in the past. The Division's plan either did not address, or did not go far enough, to ensure that State and county staff receive needed training, that methods for measuring compliance with the law identify all counties that have non-uniform valuations, that appraisal directives do not allow non-uniform valuation, and that Division policies do not impose unnecessary burdens on the counties that cause them to use their staff inefficiently. In addition, the Legislature will need to consider amending several laws to close loopholes and to relieve some of the burdens placed on county officials.
Reviewing Counties’ Procedures for Handling Absentee Ballots and for Updating Voter Registration Lists
None of the four counties we reviewed was in complete compliance with absentee voting laws, and sometimes the laws were unclear, conflicting, or difficult for county election officials to follow. Partly because of unclear statutes and a lack of guidance from the Secretary of State’s Office, counties followed inconsistent procedures and had inadequate controls over absentee ballots. This allowed a few individuals to receive more than one absentee ballot or vote more than once. Two of the four counties we reviewed did not carry out all statutorily required updates of voter registration rolls. However, even if all required updates are performed, an inactive voter could legally remain on the voter registration rolls for up to four years.
Exploring Options for Consolidating School Districts: An Overview
In general, the audit showed that Kansas had more school districts, and fewer students in those districts, than most other states. Average school and class sizes in Kansas also were smaller, which has resulted in Kansas having more teachers and staff per student than other states. Despite these factors, Kansas' spending per student was slightly less than the national median, mainly because Kansas' average teacher salary was below the median. Within Kansas' 304 school districts, enrollment heavily influenced operating expenditures per student, which ranged from $2,900 to $11,400 in 1990-91. As a rule, smaller school districts have much higher expenditures per student than larger districts, primarily because they have much smaller classes and more teachers per student. Unless schools are closed, average class sizes are increased, and teaching staff are reduced, consolidating school districts in Kansas is not likely to result in significant savings.
Analyzing the Relationships Between Funding Levels and the Quality of Education in Kansas School Districts
We found no statistically significant relationships between school districts' general fund expenditures and their students' performance on achievement tests, minimum competency tests, attendance rates, or dropout rates. We found a slight tendency for school districts' dropout rates to increase as the percentage of students receiving subsidized lunches increased, but saw no relationship between any areas of student performance and such factors as pupil-teacher ratios, enrollments, taxable incomes per student, and average teacher salaries.The State's 20 wealthiest school districts were able to spend more on education than other districts while assessing a low mill levy. For the remaining districts, general fund spending on education declined as district wealth declined, although assessed mill levies remained nearly the same regardless of wealth.
Wichita School District: Personnel Practices and Management of Resources
Wichita's overall costs and staffing levels did not appear to be out-of-line compared with the four other large districts in Kansas and similarly sized districts in the Midwest. Wichita appeared to have fewer teachers and more support personnel per student than the average in the other school districts in Kansas. In addition, the district appeared to have a number of elementary schools that could potentially be consolidated. The district documented most of its personnel actions, although documentation was sometimes insufficient for teacher transfers, evaluations, and informal Affirmative Action complaints. The district's personnel practices appeared to be in compliance with most federal and State laws, but did not always comply with certification requirements or with its written procedures for carrying out Board of Education policies.
Examining Out-District Tuition Expenditures for Leavenworth County (100-hour audit)
Leavenworth County is paying the correct amount in out-district tuition for its residents who are taking classes at community colleges and Washburn University. The County's budgeted out-district tuition expenditures for 1988, 1989, and 1990 appeared to be reasonable based on information available to officials when they set those budgets. However, the County in essence double-counted the expenses associated with repayment of short-term financing it obtained to meet a 1989 out-district tuition fund shortfall. As a result, the mill levy for 1990 was set at a level to collect about $160,000 more in taxes than needed. At the time of this audit, the County had not yet begun formulating its 1991 budget. Using the most current revenue and expenditure information available--including unaudited 1989 data--we projected that the County's 1991 out-district tuition expenditures would range from about $600,000 to about $660,000.
Property Taxes in Large Sample of Cities and Counties
Nearly two-thirds of the 50 cities and counties reviewed during this audit levied higher property taxes in the reappraisal year than they had in the previous year. These increases ranged from 0.02 percent to more than 50 percent. All but five of the increases complied with State laws regarding property tax levies during the reappraisal year. Those five cities and counties exceeded their maximum allowable levies, but the levies were only $2 to $721 higher than allowed by State law
A Detailed Review of Property Tax Levy Increases for the Reappraisal Year in Leavenworth County and Hutchinson
Both Leavenworth County and Hutchinson raised their property tax levies for 1990 over 1989 levels by significant amounts. Although these increases complied with the Tax Lid Law, both localities made changes to avoid the property tax limitations of that Law. Both local government units were able to rearrange their funding sources and use exceptions in the Law to increase property taxes during the reappraisal year.
Reviewing the Effectiveness of Property Tax Limitations Enacted in Response to Statewide Reappraisal--Overland Park (100-hour audit)
Two of the local units of government reviewed during this audit increased their property tax levies between 1988 and 1989, including a 0.7 percent increase in Overland Park, and a 17.2 percent increase in Johnson County. During the audit, nothing came to our attention that would indicate that the three local units were not in compliance with State laws regarding their 1989 property tax levies. Due to the limited timeframe for the audit, we could not determine the extent to which local units may have taken advantage of the tax lid exemptions by reallocating their mix of funding resources.
Reviewing the Effectiveness of Property Tax Limitations Enacted in Response to Statewide Reappraisal--Leavenworth and De Soto (100-hour audit)
All six local units of government reviewed during this audit increased their property tax levies between 1988 and 1989, ranging from an eight percent increase for Unified School District 232 in De Soto to a 33.4 percent increase in Leavenworth County. During the audit, nothing came to our attention that would indicate that the six local units were not in compliance with State laws regarding their 1989 property tax levies. Due to the limited timeframe for the audit, we could not determine the extent to which local units may have taken advantage of the tax lid exemptions by reallocating their mix of funding resources.
Regulation and Operation of Cowley County Developmental Services
The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services generally enforced its regulations consistently at the six agencies visited. Cowley County Developmental Services’ handling of client funds was similar to other agencies’, but the auditors did find several weaknesses. The agency also charged significantly more for vocational services than other agencies. Cowley County Developmental Services had several problems with its financial management procedures, including violations of agency policies and failure to report all unpaid bills. Finally, the auditors investigated numerous complaints concerning the agency; some were apparently true, while others were not substantiated.
Most of the audited localities’ expenditures for alcohol and drug abuse programs complied with State law. A few used liquor tax funds to pay administrative costs, which is not specifically allowed by law. Others funded such activities as teenage hotlines and domestic violence programs, which did not have substance abuse as their primary concern. Statutory changes made in 1986 may prohibit such expenditures in the future.
About one-fourth of all audited purchases greater than $5,000 were made in violation of State bidding laws. Districts failed to obtain sealed competitive bids, did not award bids to the lowet bidder, or split invoices to keep purchases under $5,000.
Enterprise Zones in Kansas
Published: MAY, 1985
The legislature authorized the enterprise zone program in 1982 as a means to encourage economic development in distressed areas of Kansas cities. The Department of Economic Development’s interpretations of the Enterprise Zone Act, especially since its amendment in 1983, have allowed some areas to receive enterprise zone designations which may not meet the spirit of the statutory requirements.
Local Governments’ Use of Motor Fuel Tax Revenues
Published: JANUARY, 1985
Higher motor fuel taxes in fiscal year 1984 resulted in an $18.4 million Statewide increase in revenues distributed to cities and counties for local roads and highways . Only two of 12 localities reviewed clearly decreased their local taxing effort; most maintained or increased their local revenues. Increases in expenditures from special local road funds ranged from three percent to 140 percent.
Verifying School District Enrollments: Topeka and Wichita School Districts
Both the Topeka and Wichita school districts maintain attendance and enrollment records that allow their enrollment counts to be readily audited and verified. There is some standardization in these districts. At the secondary level, both use essentially the same computerized attendance system.
Verifying School District Enrollments: Shawnee Mission and Kansas City School Districts
Inaccurate or erased records and school officials’ failure to keep back-up attendance documents made the enrollment counts in several Kansas City schools nearly impossible to verify. Because enrollment counts are used in computing State equalization aid, the Department of Education needs to hold school districts more accountable for their records. A follow-up audit of the Kansas City district by the Department confirmed that some students who were counted should not have been. The recount resulted in a $117,835 reduction in State aid to the district.
Variations Between School Districts in Special Education Placements
There are considerable differences between districts in the size of certain special education programs. These variations are affected by placement procedures, economic factors, and different philosophies between districts about “mainstreaming” borderline students or providing special services for them.
Follow-up Audit Report Kansas Commission on Civil Rights
The report concludes that State regulation is needed over engineers, architects, and land surveyors. Complaints of incompetence against persons in those professions disclosed a potential for public harm from financial loss and from unsafe buildings. Without regulation, it is possible that these problems could increase. The report concludes, however, that the State need not license and regulate landscape architects.
Management Audit of State Funded Pharmacies and Drug Rooms