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YOUNGSTOWN – A public audit of the city’s finances in 2019 found some problems, but noted the resolution of the biggest problem of the past two years – the inappropriate use of $ 4.4 million in general funds for development projects economic.

The audit, carried out by Julian & Grube of Westerville on behalf of the auditor’s office for 2019, was made public on Thursday.

“We are happy with the audit because the big problem has been fixed,” said city finance director Kyle Miasek.

Another question, which was raised before, was how the city allocated part of the costs of various services to the funds for water, wastewater and environmental sanitation.

Since 2004, the city has used 70 percent of the cost of running IT services, control board, legal department excluding prosecutors, finance department, mayor’s office, civil service, council municipal and housing inspection of these three funds. In addition, about 50 percent of the operating cost of the public works department is charged to these funds.

The audit indicates that the percentages are not supported by the documentation.

“Without a full and comprehensive allocation plan approved by council, the city could improperly charge certain funds, which could lead to anomalies in financial statements and / or adjustments to the fund balance,” the audit said.

The city hired Maximus Global Consulting Services of Richmond, Va., To develop a model for using those funds for these departments, Miasek said.

The report showed that in 2019, those departments should have charged $ 2,597,441 to the three funds and actually charged $ 3,137,829, he said. This did not include the annual rental fee of $ 186,000 for the water utility for the town hall offices.

The difference is $ 354,388.

“I’m very happy with how close we are,” said Miasek. “There isn’t a huge difference. They’re going to do it again for 2020. The auditor’s office wanted something more in-depth and data-driven and there is now a benchmark. “

Another issue raised in the 2019 audit that also appeared in the 2018 report was how the police department paid some officers who worked out of line. The audit showed that the officers were poorly paid for overtime.

The police department also wrongly gave accumulated time – extra time off instead of paid – to many officers. According to the audit, two agents had too much time accumulated that they had not gained.

“It was handled internally and the issue is resolved,” Miasek said.

The audit noted that the city last month addressed a major problem in its 2018 and 2019 audits: it wrongly used $ 4,415,332 from its water fund ($ 2,653,169), from the wastewater fund (1,612,163 $) and the environmental sanitation fund ($ 150,000), mainly for economic development, when the money should have come from the general fund.

The city had opposed the auditor’s office request to pay the money to the three funds over a 15-year period.

But because of the $ 5.3 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds given to the city last year with $ 82,775,370 more to come – half this year and the rest in 2022 – the general fund has a healthy surplus that will increase dramatically. The city council therefore voted last month to reimburse the three funds.

“We are pleased to see the Town of Youngstown meet its financial obligations to water and sewer taxpayers,” said Allison Dumski, a spokesperson for the auditor.

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