Jackson County - Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the performance audit of the city of Wellston. The audit identifies potential savings of more than $1 million annually which could help the city recover from its fiscal emergency designation.
“City leaders must work together to improve the financial condition of Wellston,” Taylor said. “This audit provides city officials guidance as they make important decisions about their operations and finances.”
Wellston was placed in fiscal emergency on October 1, 2009 after a fiscal analysis by the Auditor of State showed the city had a treasury deficit of $588,915 on December 31, 2008. The deficit grew to $623,915 on June 20, 2009.
The performance audit examines the city’s financial management, human resources, safety services and public works. Additionally, the report commends the city’s use of volunteer firefighters, which has minimized costs in that department. The report has 62 recommendations for improved government efficiency, primarily focusing on the need for basic operational controls. Some of the recommendations include:
Other recommendations in the report outline how Wellston may be able to realize significant savings by making basic operational changes throughout the city’s departments.
- Develop budgeting policies that include both planning and forecasting of receipts and expenditures
- Establish an audit committee and develop strategies to address past financial audit citations
- Consider reopening discussions with Jackson County for shared law enforcement services for an estimated annual savings of $484,000. This has proven an effective cost savings measure in other areas of Ohio
- Reduce water department employee staffing, reduce water loss and collect unpaid water receipts for an estimated annual cost savings of $195,500
Performance audits report on the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations through peer comparisons and benchmarking to industry standards. A performance audit is a valuable tool for agencies seeking to improve operations, identify cost savings and make better use of existing resources.
Since taking office, Taylor has released 96 performance audits outlining 3,055 recommendations for improvements. Those recommendations, if fully implemented, could result in potential cost savings of more than $147 million annually.
A copy of the complete audit is available online.
The Ohio Auditor of State’s office is a leader in the accounting and auditing field, earning prestigious national honors from the Government Finance Officers Association, the National White Collar Crime Center and the National State Auditors Association.