Late county audit could cause big state, federal money problems

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission said it is locked out of getting money from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Several other state agencies that give money to the county are at risk of being cut off later this month. It is because the county missed the deadline to submit its 2019 audit.

The Champaign County audit for 2019 was due December 2020, taking into account previous extensions. That date was not met, and the audit is still not complete.

The RPC is a division of Champaign County under the Single Audit Act.

“These systemic weaknesses in the county’s fiscal infrastructure have certainly negatively impacted the RPC,” said Elizabeth Murphy, RPC chief operating officer.

Baker Tilly is the Chicago-based firm currently assisting the county auditor with this.

“I’d say we’re substantially completed with some significant areas still to do, including report review and some other elements that we’ll be working with the auditor’s office to expedite in our best way possible,” said Michael Mulatt with Baker Tilly.

The County is responsible for those missing pieces. He said all work the RPC is responsible for is done.

DCEO sent a letter of noncompliant at the beginning of March, with stop payments being consequence.

County Auditor George Danos said he appealed after receiving it on March 3. But RPC said they have been locked out of getting money from DCEO since March 2.

RPC is majority funded by state and federal grants.

“President Biden just signed the new stimulus and contained within are some additional resources, many of which would be programs we operate here at the RPC,” said RPC CEO Dalitso Sulamoyo. “If we are still in this predicament, that would preclude us from accessing those resources.”

There are also other existing and new grants that have a set start date of July 1 for things like emergency energy and rental assistance.

Overall, it is a total of $18 million in grants on the line. And if the issues are not resolved by March 17, Murphy said remaining agencies, DCFS, Department of Human Services, IDOT and Illinois State Board of Education will have stop payment.

Officials have talked about ways to fix this in a Friday meeting. There are a few different options, but they have not yet decided exactly how they will move forward.

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