The city’s internal audit report for 2023 has been released. The full report is available on the city website. A few highlights are worth noting:
- The city had a small deficit last year, less than $150,000.
- Revenues dropped by $1.7 million. Of that drop, $1.1 million was in grants, and $41,000 was in charges for service. City tax revenue increased by $145,000.
- Expenditures on public safety increased by nearly $1.5 million. The capital outlay for streets dropped by $430,000, which might explain some of the deterioration we see around the city.
It is worth noting that this internal audit is for a very narrow purpose. They do look for signs of fraud and error, but the primary responsibility for this is on the city. The audit does not verify that funds are being spent properly or wisely, or that state laws governing operation of the city are being followed. For the most part, the audit is just a summary of the city’s financial statements.
This brings to mind the need for a state audit. In the mayoral election, mayor Jones expressed her support for a state audit. The council, by passing a bill, can obtain a state audit at any time. It has been six months since the mayor was reelected, and she has not introduced legislation to do this. Residents can also force a state audit by circulating a petition to registered voters.