ELYRIA — The performance audit city officials thought would help tremendously with the 2013 budget process is roughly two months behind schedule.
It is unknown at this time if the city will have the cost-saving recommendations Mayor Holly Brinda previously said were needed because of budget cuts that will have to take effect next year. When discussing the audit Wednesday, Brinda said the state auditor’s office, which is conducting the audit, is behind schedule because of reorganization in its offices.
“They are a little behind the schedule they set for themselves, but I have asked them to give me information as soon as possible,” she said. “We have met all the information request timetables we have been presented with from the auditors. We are not holding up the process.”
Brinda said the auditors have spent the last 2½ months collecting information, speaking with department heads and interviewing employees. The original timetable would have started the process in May or June. However, the first request for information did not come until the first week of July.
Now, the city is beginning the process of the 2013 budget, which starts with a three-month temporary budget and meetings with all department heads to determine the needs for the upcoming year. Brinda said she will request a timetable from the auditor’s office on how information by each department will be filtered back to the city.
Brinda is hoping for a final report back by the time the city passes the permanent budget, which by state law has to be passed by City Council by March 31.
“We have to do a budget no matter what. We can’t work without a budget,” Brinda said. “But regardless to when and how the information comes to us, having some information is better than having no information.
“The challenge of getting information back incrementally is we will not have that airplane view, which could be useful to make decisions of the overall budget and how to set priorities.”
The audit covers the departments under Brinda but will not include the municipal court, Health Department or Law Department. City Auditor Ted Pileski has elected to have his department included in the audit.
Once the report comes back, Brinda said residents should not expect the city to immediately move to implement all of the recommendations. The state auditor’s office considers an audit successful when communities adopt between 60 and 75 percent of the recommendation.
In Elyria’s case, Brinda said, “surely there will be some recommendations that will have to become apart of discussions with our employee groups.”
Four main areas will be examined: financial management practices, human resources, public safety and public works.
The audit will review the Police and Fire departments and the use of mutual aid from outside departments. Lastly, the audit will look at nearly every other department that provides a service to residents including water, sanitation and parks.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or email@example.com.