CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT, FINANCE DIVISION

AND

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, PUBLIC WORKS

SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS

STREET LIGHTING, PAVING, DRAINAGE AND NAVIGATIONAL DREDGING

REPORT NO. 2000-11

September 21, 2000

Karleen F. De Blaker

Clerk of the Circuit Court

Ex officio County Auditor

Robert W. Melton, CPA, CIA, CFE

Chief Deputy Director

Internal Audit Division

Audit by:

Ronald M. Peters, CIA, CISA

Senior Internal Auditor

The Internal Audit Division has conducted a review of the Board of County Commissioners, Public Works, and Clerk of the Circuit Court, Finance Division, Special Assessments related to Street Lighting, Paving, Drainage and Navigational Dredging.

Scope and Methodology

The purpose of this audit was to determine if: 1) the Special Assessments that relate to street lighting, paving, drainage and navigational dredging were properly declared, 2) the proration of the improvement expenses to the various properties were calculated properly, 3) the revenues generated from the assessment were properly utilized, and 4) the financial controls for the assessment operations were adequate.

The scope of this audit included reviewing the Florida Statutes, the Pinellas County Code and Attorney General Opinions that relate to Special Assessments for street lighting, paving, drainage, and navigational dredging. We reviewed the accounting process and related controls over Special Assessments. Our audit period included Special Assessments approved by the Board of County Commissioners during the period of February 1, 1997, to December 31, 1999. Areas of review included, but were not necessarily limited to the audit period.

Overall Conclusion

We have concluded that the policies, procedures and accounting controls related to Special Assessments are adequate. The Special Assessments were levied in accordance with the Florida Statutes and the County Code. Our review revealed no matters which require management's attention.

Background

Pursuant to Section 125.01(q), Florida Statutes, Powers and Duties of Local Governments, and Section 110, County Code, Street Improvements and Storm Sewers, Pinellas County has the authority to levy a special assessment against benefited property owners. The benefits referred to include street lighting, paving, drainage and navigational dredging.

The Board may initiate the improvement by receiving a written petition signed by the owners of at least 50 percent of the real estate described in the petition or the Board may initiate the assessment without a written petition by a resolution ordering the construction of the improvement. The Board may assess the entire cost of the improvement, or a portion as the Board may designate, against the property specifically benefited by the improvement.

Our audit did not identify any policies, procedures or practices where significant improvement is needed. Our audit was neither designed nor intended to be a detailed study of every relevant system, procedure or transaction. Accordingly, opportunities for improvement could exist which were not identified in this audit.

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