The County Auditor is responsible for conducting elections and maintaining voter registration records; for the issuance of vehicle and vessel licenses, for the issuance of marriage licenses; for the recording, maintenance and retrieval of real property documents, deeds and titles; and for the oversight and reporting of the County's accounting and financial activities.
It should be noted that all divisions of the Auditor's Office operate within statute (state law) as to the performance of duties and responsibilities. Fees are set and regulated by statute and the legislature.
Elections and Voter Registration administers all federal, state, county, municipal and special purpose district elections held in Island County. In addition to the annual primary and general elections, there is potential for two special elections each spring - conducted in February and April. The Primary is conducted in August and the General in November, dates set by statute. Annually, Elections manages the registration records for over 60,000 voters (55,089 active voters and 5831 inactive voters currently) adding new registrations and updating the records of voters who have moved to/from other locations averaging 2,500 per month. Island County has about 3750 Service and Overseas voters. Over the past 10 years, we've updated records for over 65,000 voters – voters moving to/from the county, deceased voters, and new voters.
Voter outreach programs include publication of the Local Online Voters' Guide, assisting local schools in the conduct of their student body elections, registration of students turning 18 before the next major election; assisting/promoting voter registration opportunities at Citizenship events for qualified citizens; participating with Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during Military Voter Registration Week. We provide voter outreach specifically to voters with accessibility needs for voter registration and voting opportunities. The only revenue in elections is derived from the sale of voter database information – annually about $250.
Recording maintains the official public record of all real estate documents, deeds and titles transacted in Island County. It is also the repository for the Board of County Commissioner minutes and other official County documents, maintaining historical records for Island County dating back to 1853. The recording team creates the index whereby documents can be located and retrieved and assists the public with title searches. Marriage and business licenses are issued and maintained in the Recording division. In 2016, we collected Recording fees the amount of: $1,263,143.83. Recording fees are set by the legislature and established as to distribution in statute. The small portion of revenue from recording retained by Island County goes into the General Fund and Auditor's O&M for records preservation and equipment replacement.
Licensing acts as the Agent in Island County for the Washington State Department of Licensing, issuing vehicle and vessel licenses and tabs, and processing title transfers. In cooperation with three licensing sub-agencies located throughout the County, Licensing is responsible for the licensing of all vessels and vehicles registered in Island County. In 2013 and 2014, the Island County Auditor's Office collected in excess of $1.5 million dollars annually for licenses for the State of Washington. All aspects of the licensing processes are under regulations set forth by the DOL including fees.
Financial Services Division provides the central accounting system to which all County departments and agencies report their financial transactions. This division is responsible for control and issuance of disbursements; financial accounting and reporting, including preparation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Statement; hosting the annual audit by SAO auditors; operational auditing; maintains and updates the Capital inventory and payroll of Island County. Accounting staff conduct audits of departments who have cash handling, petty cash and checking accounts not under the review of the Treasurer. Although this description is small it is perhaps the largest part of our responsibility overall.
Payroll division maintains payroll records for all employees of the county; distributes bi- weekly payroll for over 450 employees and ensures accurate distribution of payroll funds to the employees of the 6 bargaining units and the non-represented; pays all state and federal taxes in accordance with schedules; distributes payroll by ACH and a few hard copy payroll checks. Payroll ensures benefits are paid in compliance with contracts including all retro payments when contracts are renegotiated (requires review of multiple years/compilation).
Accounts Payable duties are performed for Island County and the junior taxing districts with the exception of the school districts and hospital district. For Island County vouchers (invoices) from each Office and Department this involves receipting of vouchers, review for accuracy and compliance with county policy, creating the weekly batch report and issuing the weekly report of all vouchers to the Board of County Commissioners for approval. Upon approval by the Board, the AP accountant issues warrants to pay each voucher and sends these payments by mail – usually 300-450 weekly. For Junior Taxing District vouchers, Accounts Payable accepts the batches – usually about 37-45 batches weekly; we review for accuracy, issue warrants and distribute them to the districts for pick up. Accounts Payable also maintains the County Vendor List, records for all vendors who perform work for Island County and accepts most county bids and open bids per statutory requirements.