“We’re talking about a $4.5 million investment just for the next three months,” said John Azzarello, the city’s director of finance.
With the money, City Manager Charles Toth said officials will hire a consultant to do a comprehensive review of the city’s finances. Toth declined to give more details about the study, but said it would look at all facets of the city’s finances, including capital investments and expenses, expenses.
The audit includes the city’s fiscal year 2016 and 2017 budgets, which are budgeted at $6 million each, and includes $4.4 million to do a comprehensive analysis of all city revenue and expenses for both years.
The city’s operating balance is estimated to be about $2.5 million, Toth said, which would be offset by the money city officials would spend on staffing and other expenses and by the revenue the city collects.
Officials said the money would be spent over the next three months and it would depend on how long the audit takes. Toth says the city’s financial operations could be in the black when it looks at each of the budgeted categories in their totality.
“Everything is in good shape, we don’t have any major issues,” Toth said. “I can’t talk in any detail except on the generalities.”
The city plans to do all of its own accounting to see whether the audit report on finances is accurate, but any conclusions the auditor draws from the work will not necessarily affect the city’s budget, Toth said.
The audit is not an independent process, he said, adding that auditors “are there to advise us but we’re the ones that have to look at them.”
Toth said the city can also use the audit or review as a platform for discussing and improving the city’s financial management. Toth said he expects to hold an independent financial audit next year.
The city received a waiver to be one of only 25 cities — along with several surrounding cities and county governments — to be able to apply for the review.
The city’s budget for the fiscal year includes $3.7 million for capital improvements, including a new administration building, a new fire headquarters and a new police station.
Azzarello, who was appointed the city’s first deputy city manager in late 2011 and served in the position until mid-June, has said it was important for his team to be given the ability to look at budget items before they are added to the budget.
“There’s no reason why the city can’t do an accurate, accurate analysis prior to adding any spending,” Azzarello said.
The city is also looking at how it will spend its new capital money. The audit will look at the city’s $1.9 million in grants, contributions and contracts, and how well it used those.
In the first year of the audit, Azzarello said, the city has spent about $15 million of the money — the bulk of it, $10 million, on grants and programs.
He also said that the audit will cover every function the city has, including personnel, contracts, marketing, finances, parks and recreation and planning.
The audit also will examine the city’s contracting process, which Azzarello said is among a number of areas the city needs