La Crosse isn’t necessarily doing anything wrong in the way it finances the city’s parks and rec. department but improvements could be made.
That was one message from a $30,000 audit on the department that was finally presented to the city council Thursday.
At the special council meeting, accountant Mary Jo Werner of the Wipfli accounting firm said no misuse of funding was found, but there wasn’t much oversight for how some park money is spent.
“One of the things that we’ve noted is,” Werner said, “it’s much easier to collect money for something that isn’t there yet, than to pay for yesterday’s lunch.”
Wipfli also suggested there’s too much shifting of money from one park project to another without much open accounting.
While council members generally thanked the company for the report, one said the city should be sure it has enough money to finish a park project before it starts.
“There should be something that happens so we’re not starting a project, depending on fundraising and then the fundraising doesn’t happen and we get stuck with it,” Doug Happel said.
Happel also asked Mayor Tim Kabat not to “short-circuit” certain projects so the council has time to do some study.
Interim city parks and rec. director Jay Odegaard said his department does need to evolve.
“Parks and recs. are no longer just your youth baseball or mowing of parks,” he said.
The audit found that La Crosse city codes governing the use of dozens of parks have not been updated in nearly 40 years.