The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

March 17, 2014

State audit critical of utility spending

City to change 2015 percentages

ANDERSON – For several decades the Indiana State Board of Accounts has been critical about the amount of money being appropriated from the Anderson city utilities to finance civil city operations.

The latest audit by the state became a topic of discussion during the Anderson City Council’s consideration of the 47 percent rate increase for the city’s water department that will be phased-in over two years.

The audit’s finding were raised several times by local residents during the rate increase discussion.

At the February council meeting, council members asked City Controller Jason Fenwick to present a proposal at Thursday’s meeting to change the percentages for the allotment of costs.

Fenwick said Thursday the savings to the four utilities would amount to $85,000 once the adjustments are made.

“The state audit said the city didn’t justify the percentages of funding taking from the utility budget,” he said. “We have gotten justifications from each department.”

A formal policy will be in place before the City Council begins discussions on the 2015 budget.

Fenwick said the changes can’t be implemented this year because the budget has already been set.

“My goal is by the 2015 budget to have the percentages in the budgets to reflect the estimated time spent on utility work in each department,” he said.

Fenwick said some of the percentages coming from the utility departments will decrease while others will increase in the future.

He said 100 percent of city hall maintenance was being paid by the utilities and that will be reduced to 50 percent. Fenwick said the utility costs for the copy center will increase from 50 to 70 percent.

“We can make the $85,000 adjustment in 2015,” Fenwick said. “It’s a manageable figure.

“The State Board of Accounts realizes we’re making adjustments,” he said.

Councilman David Eicks conceded some of the percentages were out of whack at the February meeting.

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