Town correct to require audits

Jul. 17, 2013 @ 04:00 AM

Auditing financial records can be costly and time-consuming.

Just about every branch of government requires it each year to maintain a check-and-balance system for taxpayer dollars.

So, when the Forest City Town Council passed a measure Monday night requiring all non-profit organizations to have an audit done of financial records before receiving additional funds, it came as a welcome surprise to us.

We understand the cost to have an audit done is not the most conducive to non-profit organizations, but good business practices include tracking finances year after year.

The Forest City Town Council had options when deliberating what to require.

It could require audits of all entities obtaining town funds each year or it could have asked for a lesser form of financial record checks.

Then again, it could have maintained the status quo and not required much of anything.

But, current events dictated council members receive a full disclosure of how funds are spent by the organizations who receive town — in a sense taxpayer — dollars.

Those current events include the weekend arrest of the Forest City Little League president for financial discrepancies derived from reports obtained by the Town.

Town Manager John Condrey stated the arrest had little to do with the Town taking the matter up on its agenda Monday, however we can't help but think that alleged incident weighed on the minds of council members while deliberating Monday.

The fact remains we are talking about taxpayer's money.

Whether those funds are distributed within the departments of the town or to non-profits, there still needs to be accountability.

It isn't just to root out potential wrongdoing.

It is just good business practices.

And there is the public aspect to it.

Condrey was correct in telling council members there is a perception by the public that these non-profits have some kind of affiliation to the town because some may have "Forest City" in their name.

The truth of the matter is the only correlation is that they receive a percentage of their revenues from the town.

That should not change the fact that the Town has the right and the obligation to ask for financial accountability and learn where taxpayer dollars are being spent.

We applaud the Forest City Town Council for their decision and we encourage other government entities to follow suit if those processes are not already in place.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark