Something interesting came out of the audit. Apparently in 2000 the city council approved a $75,000 loan to the zoo. The loan was due in 2006 and when the zoo wasn’t paying the city issued a $75,000 check to the zoo and a week later the zoo paid the city back. Mind boggling, I know (FF to 24:00 min)
This of course happened during the Munson administration, but it shows how money gets transferred around without city council approval. The audit committee of course disapproved of this for two reasons
1) The loan forgiveness could have been done with a simple journal entry (even a bonehead non-accountant like myself knows that)
2) Since the city council originally approved the loan, they should have approved the forgiveness.
It is pretty obvious why the check was issued, it was to side step council involvement, which brings us to the bigger picture, not being transparent with the public. This went on many times during the Munson administration, in fact, Dave almost got brought up on charges over the 100% over budget approval of Phillips to the Falls.
This is a good example of why the council needs to be more involved with city expenditures, they are our legislative body and they need to be a check and balance against the mayor’s office and ultimately the budget office.
There was other things that came out of the audit, such as the city gifting the zoo the animals (apparently we used to own them) and the zoo not releasing their 990 to the city or the public because they want to protect their donors (which is understandable) but they can provide a 990 w/o the donors listed. My guess is that the zoo is a lot more successful financially then expected and they are trying to hide just how much private money they are bringing in so they can still feed at the city trough. This is unfortunate, because if the zoo can make it on their own two feet (or should I say four) they should. Then I will stop harassing them about monkey crappers.