Late payments cost Newton Falls $5,347 in penalties, interest

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – The Newton Falls Joint Fire District was fined $5,347 from 2014 through 2015 for making late payments to the state, IRS and Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

A financial audit of the fire district released today determined that former Fiscal Officer Joseph Sosnowski properly withheld income taxes and pension contributions from employee paychecks, but on several occasions did not forward the funds to the appropriate entities on time.

“The District should be making timely payments on all obligations,” auditors wrote. “Failing to make timely payments could result in unnecessary and excessive disbursements.”

The late payments yielded penalties and interest amounting to $5,209.73 from the IRS, $131.46 from OPERS and $5.36 from the Ohio Department of Taxation.

“Today’s dwindling local government budgets leave no room for needless expenses like late fees,” Auditor Yost said. “Of all public employees, a fiscal officer should fully appreciate the importance of making payments on time, every time.”

According to the report, the dollars used to pay off the penalties and interest did not serve a proper public purpose. Auditors issued a $5,347 finding for recovery against Sosnowski.

Auditor Yost placed the fire district on the “unauditable” list in August 2016 after district officials were unable to provide complete financial records and bank reconciliations that auditors need to complete an audit. The audit release signals the district’s removal from the list.