The drawn-out process of completing the audit of the city’s finances for the 2019 fiscal year is apparently nearing the end.


But the dispute continues between city staff and a City Council member over who bears responsibility for the delay in completing the audit, which should have been finished last fall.


At several council meetings, Councilman Mike Yaklich has raised the issue of the incomplete audit. Yaklich has also pointed out that auditors in past years have mentioned flaws in city accounting procedures that should be corrected.


In his memo to the council in advance of Monday’s council meeting, City Manager Gary Bradley wrote that Yaklich has said “on several occasions that the auditors have advised in the past two audits that we are expending too much money from restricted fund balances.


“The fact of the matter is that no such concern was expressed and no such practice exists in our financial operations,” Bradley wrote.


He added that the auditors have said that the city makes too many transfers from one fund to another, “which is a statement that I actually agree with.”


Restricted funds are for specific city departments, such as the sewer fund or the water fund. Money from the general fund is spent throughout the city operations.


Yaklich said Monday that the auditors have no problem with transferring money from the general fund into restricted funds. But transfers of money from the restricted funds to the general fund shouldn’t be made, he said.


“When we have a $150,000 deficit we have to ‘find’ the money to pay the bills,” Yaklich said. “When we ‘find’ the money in restricted funds to pay for operational costs, the auditors are concerned.


“We should be concerned as well,” Yaklich said.


Bradley’s memo said the “historic practice” of setting aside money in the city’s acquisition fund (one of the restricted funds) and then transferring it to pay general-fund expenses “could and should be altered.”


He added, “With each audit, we’ve taken steps to improve our operations financially. The audit should be a tool to improve financial operations and ensure accountability, not a political tool used to slander staff."


Bradley’s memo said the auditors anticipate finishing their job by the end of the month.