Atlantic Beach late on giving annual audits to the state

The town of Atlantic Beach owes the state paperwork, and because of that, the town is losing out on state funding.

According to documents obtained from the South Carolina State Treasurer's Office, the town of Atlantic Beach has failed to file its annual audit for the past four years.

Every town, city, and county is required each year to submit to the state an audit including details of how they collect, report, and distribute fines and assessments. Municipalities have to do it because it's the law, but it also determines how much money local governments get from the state.

According to the state treasurer's office, Atlantic Beach hasn't turned in an audit since 2007.

The state Treasurer's Office has been sending letters notifying the town about the delinquent reports since 2009. The state is also withholding $24,186.47 of funding to Atlantic Beach.

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis says the audits allow taxpayers to see how their money is being spent.

"It all comes down to accountability and transparency. State law requires that towns and cities have these audits every year. When we do these audits, it allows the taxpayers to know what is happening to their money. It's the most import tool that the taxpayers should have to keep track of what happens in their city," he says.

Atlantic Beach Town Manager William Booker says he is aware of the late audits and is making progress on getting them to the state.

Booker says the town has hired a new chief financial officer and has contracted with an independent auditor for $50,000. He adds they have had to create an entirely new record system from scratch because prior to 2006, no financial system was in place.

The town's auditor hopes to finish the late audits for 2007 and 2008 this month and have the remaining audits finished by 2012.

By law, cities have 13 months following the end of their fiscal year to turn in audit reports before being delinquent.