As many of you remember, last February a resident distributed a report which chronicled a long list of perceived wrongs which he felt had betrayed residents trust. The “Utility Scandal” report as you may recall was inflammatory and quick to make judgments about many different topics. Specifically, the report accused the city staff of fraudulently transferring funds from the Enterprise Funds to the General Fund. The report asserted:
“when Eagle Mountain’s mayor, city council, and administrators want to spend extra money, they rarely try to raise property tax revenues because doing so is politically hazardous thanks to the state’s stringent Truth in Taxation requirements. Instead, they usually raid the city’s utility funds, which are often flush with cash, because they have set some of the highest rates in the state.”
While I still do not know the true motivations of this resident, I do know that the claims have been reviewed by the State Auditor’s office and have been deemed to be unsubstantiated. This was the position of the City at the time the claims were levied and I am glad that the audit has affirmed this and it is now behind us. The State Auditor’s report is available here if you would like to read it.
With respect to expenses paid for the PRCA awards banquet in 2011, my wife was employed by the city and worked in the events department. In the interest of full disclosure she attended a convention related to fairs and I flew in to Las Vegas (on my own dime) to spend the weekend with her. At the conclusion of her conference, she and I were invited to attend the PRCA awards banquet and we both attended, though our tickets to that event were “comped” as this was a last minute consideration. There was no expense to the city or we would not have attended. Neither she nor I attended the NFR, or caused any additional expense to the City.
I would like to say thank you to the city staff for the tremendous efforts they have made in working through this audit. Specifically, I would like to thank our finance director, Paul Jerome and his staff for meeting the obligations of this audit while simultaneously completing the annually required audit, and also organizing, preparing for and leading the annual budget process.
While the State Auditor found the allegations regarding the utility fund transfers were unsubstantiated, they did make recommendations in a few other areas. I will refrain from giving any commentary on those as I think the report and the respective replies speak for themselves. I will say that I believe most of those items were interrelated and are no longer an issue.