An external audit of the La Crosse Parks and Recreation Department has the green light after approval from city council members in a meeting on Thursday night.
Council members requested the external audit of the Parks and Recreation Department after a number of constituents called them concerned about how tax dollars were being spent. The Wipfli Accounting Firm was chosen to review the department's spending over the last three years at a cost of $30,000.
The Finance and Personnel Committee approved the external audit on November 2 in a 4-2 vote, and the audit will move forward after the full council echoed their approval 10-3.
Council President Martin Gaul stood behind the external audit citing the importance of conveying clear intentions and transparency with the public. While some council members agreed with his position, others say the price of the review is just too high.
"I personally don't think they're going to find out anything that couldn't have been done in house," said Gary Padesky, District 7 Council Member. "I mean it's just my opinion now. Everyone has one vote. My vote was no. The other people who voted yes, good for them. It passed. They're happy about it. But, I think the City of La Crosse just wasted $30,000."
"We're looking to see how we can conduct our business in a way that makes sense," said David Marshall, District 4 Council Member. "We're all stewards of the taxpayers money. So, we have a fiduciary duty to do the best that we can in that respect."
Council President Gaul said the vote was not an 'either or' situation. It will take the help of the City Finance Department to make any changes found in the external audit.
A number of other key resolutions passed in Thursday night's meeting including approval of the 2018-2022 Capital Improvement Budget and recognition of climate change urging Congress to levy a revenue-neutral fee on carbon in fossil fuels.
Council members also passed a resolution to move Veterans Memorial Pool forward by approving estimates of construction costs from River Architects.