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Council not to seek legal opinion from AG regarding audit

By Staff | Nov 24, 2008

An attempt by Councilmember Pete Brandt to seek a legal opinion from the state attorney general on the city staff’s response to a 2006 audit fell by the wayside Monday after it failed to gain the support of enough council members. “I was a little bit dismayed when I saw this come up,” Brandt said. City Financial Service Director Mark Mason said the city is responding appropriately to some of the criticisms of the auditor, but some of the criticisms are unfounded. “I’ve been in this business since 1996. Every city does something different, and in the end, we’re all required to have a balanced budget. We’re doing exactly what council tells us to do,” Mason said. Brandt took issue with Mason’s assertion that Florida statutes do not demand municipalities carry over funds when making appropriations. The audit report chided the city for not doing this with its water, sewer and stormwater funds in the 2003 and 2004 fiscal years. The city responded by saying it was compliant with state statutes. “Anything you think the auditor general is just wrong on something bears looking at,” Brandt. City Manager Terry Stewart defended his staff’s response to the audit. “What we do not have here is a report from the auditor general with the misuse of funds. They pointed out some areas where they thought there should be some modification or some change, and we have started to do that,” Stewart said. Brandt’s motion to seek the state attorney general’s opinion on the matter died after a deadlocked 3-3 vote. Brandt, Deile and Burch voted for the motion. Grill, Bertolini and Donnell voted against the measure. Day left the dais before the vote. The District 1 council seat is currently vacant after Burch’s move to the mayor’s chair.