More than a month late, Wayne County submits 2021 audit

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit — More than a month after its March 31 deadline, Wayne County submitted its 2021 audit to the Michigan Department of Treasury on May 3, state records show.

Ahead of the March deadline, Wayne County officials contacted the state treasury and asked for an extension. It was granted, with a new due date of May 15.

More:Missed Wayne County audit risks loss of revenue-sharing payment

The "Annual Local Unit Fiscal Report," or the F-65, is due from Michigan municipalities to the department six months after a fiscal year ends. 

The audit reveals that Wayne County brought in about $1.96 billion in revenue, and has about $836 million in long-term debt. Wayne County spends about $185 million annually on salaries and benefits for its 2,782 employees. 

In 2021, Wayne County brought in almost as much in state grants, about $309 million, as it did from property taxes, $332 million.

More:'Bad signal': Wayne County to miss audit deadline, treasurer cites staffing issues

Had the report not arrived, Wayne County would have been at risk of losing access to state revenue-sharing funds.

Hughey Newsome, chief financial officer for Wayne County, had described the tardy audit as a "bad signal" in the county's dealings with the bond market.

A lowered bond rating usually results in an increase in borrowing costs.

County Treasurer Eric Sabree in March indicated staffing issues played a role in the delay. Sabree's team tried to sound an optimistic note at a March meeting of the Wayne County Commission's Audit Committee meeting.

"I think we're in a really good place right now," LaShanda Thomas, a project consultant for Sabree's office and a former top assistant there, told commissioners during the meeting. "There are a few more documents to provide, and I think we'll be good."

Wayne County enlisted Plante Moran to conduct the audit. 

Sabree’s office told the committee it would participate in "a process of periodic monitoring by the audit committee" in a bid to prevent another audit deadline from being missed. Sabree said those briefings will include updates on staffing.

In 2021, Dearborn Heights and Melvindale were the only Wayne County communities to file extension requests, according to Treasury records.