By Karen Kennedy
The Indiana State Board of Accounts recently released the 2012 Carmel Redevelopment Commission audit report.
And while the records and accountability for cash and other assets were satisfactory to the best of the state’s knowledge, the report did make note of two significant problems at the CRC.
The first was that the CRC was using Microsoft Excel software to manage its books.
The audit noted that the state requires the use of Form 208 for ledger receipts, disbursements and balances. The state forbids the use of Excel as this system makes a full audit trail impossible and allows for permanent removal of an entry from the records.
The second was that the audit also found uncollected revenues totaling $835,339.08. This amount breaks down as follows:
- The CRC has a parking and grant agreement with the Carmel City Center Community Development Corporation (4CDC) to receive a $2.50 surcharge for each ticket sold at the Palladium. A total of 81,330 tickets were sold in 2012. This should have resulted in a collection of $203,325, but only $173,860.62 was collected, leaving a deficit of $29,464.38 uncollected.
- The CRC has energy consumption agreements with each of the following: City Hall, the Police and Fire Departments, the Palladium, the Office Building and the Tarkington. Collections from these entities should have totaled $1,343,697.60, but only $555,822.90 was collected, leaving a deficit of $787,874.70 uncollected.
- The CRC was owed $24,000.00 in rent from Shapiro’s. Only $6,000.00 was collected, leaving a deficit of $18,000.00 uncollected.
The audit found that receipts were only issued for 73 percent of revenues received.
The audit also outlined concerns with the ways in which tax-increment finance funds were allocated and accounted for, specifically that the CRC granted these funds to the 4CDC, which is a non-governmental entity, “for uses that cannot be verified.”
But perhaps the most glaring part of the report is that there will be no repercussions to its findings, nor is there an enforcement mechanism within the city to implement changes, said City Councilor Luci Snyder.
“The process is flawed,” Snyder said. “The state has no recourse. There is no mechanism with which the state can enforce the standards they’ve established. Their report merely points out that the CRC’s financial responsibility and bookkeeping, under the direction of Les Olds, was very lax, which we already knew.”
While Mayor Jim Brainard declined to comment on the report as a whole, he did point out that the state board’s accounting standards still call for use of a traditional paper receipt book, which he said does not allow for more modern payment techniques such as electronic wire transfers.