A budget amendment to pay for the coming management audit and risk-based analysis of Killeen finances unanimously passed Tuesday, but not without questions and pushback primarily from two council members who had voted against it.
Councilman Jim Kilpatrick, a vocal opponent of the audit and chairman of the subcommittee charged with giving direction to the audit firm based on council recommendations, and Councilman Juan Rivera, each laid out similar lines of questioning toward Finance Director Jonathan Locke.
Locke fielded inquiries from several council members about how funding the coming audit would impact the fiscal year 2017 budget, but Kilpatrick and Rivera were the most direct.
“Will there be any services cut, or ... positions affected by the use of the money?” Kilpatrick asked.
“No,” Locke said.
Council members approved the coming audit March 14, hiring Houston-based public accounting firm McConnell & Jones for $394,456. Because the scope of the audit mainly affects the city’s operating account and two utility enterprise accounts, each will be tapped to provide a portion of the money.
Here’s the breakdown: The general fund will pay 70 percent ($276,119), Water & Sewer will pay 20 percent ($78,891), and Solid Waste will pay 10 percent ($39,446).
An amendment to the general fund reserve was approved for $216,687 because $59,432 was already budgeted.
The audit will examine seven key areas and attempt to answer questions about how the city got into financial problems.
“Let me put a little bit of different flavor here,” Rivera said. “Will any of those departments that we’re getting the money from, will they suffer during the rest of the year in their budgeting?”
Locke responded by explaining where the funds are coming from: fund balance.
“It’s actually not coming from a department’s budget ... so there is no impact to any departments,” Locke said. “This is a one-time expense as far as I’m aware, so we will take it from fund balance in FY 17, and FY 18 budget will be a completely different thing.”
Councilwoman Shirley Fleming spoke in favor of funding it.
“It’s like an investment for the city,” Fleming said. “It’s like an investment in giving credibility to the city of Killeen. So I think this is a good thing.”
Councilman Jonathan Okray also said he supports the audit to find out what happened, because “process and procedures” are what drive expenditures, he said. The investigation would dig into that component, among other things.
The results of a separate yearly financial statement audit were accepted by the council Tuesday.
No previous yearly city audits have raised flags or concerns, but none were as in-depth as the new audit, which is a strong reason to proceed, some council members have said.