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La Crosse parks audit reveals a need for tighter grip on finances, organization

Mitch Reynolds

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A long-awaited audit of the City of La Crosse parks and rec. department is finally complete.

The city council, last December, voted to fund an audit of the parks department after intense pressure from the public over funds associated with a new band stand in Riverside Park.

The audit led to a rare veto by Mayor Tim Kabat and an even rarer override of a veto by the city council.

The $30,000 audit was finally submitted to the city at the end of last month and includes a list of 24 recommendations for better tracking money in the parks department.

However, other than some organizational issues, the audit didn’t find problems that indicate a misuse of funds.

One recommendation says bluntly, “park improvement funds, and how they are used, needs to be reviewed.”

Also, the audit found a confusing shell game, at times, in moving money from one project to another without any transparency or city council oversight.

The audit also found several areas where there is inconsistency in how money is spent and tracked and confusion about who’s in charge.

In another of 24 recommendations, the audit says, “in interviewing the parks director, he indicated that only one person reports to him. However, in reviewing the job descriptions, two people report to him.”

The city council is set to review the audit next month.