Mayor Brian Treece once again called for an independent audit of the city’s finances at Monday night’s Columbia City Council meeting.
Treece first introduced the idea of a comprehensive audit of the city’s finances back in February 2018, according to previous Missourian reporting. He has previously stated that his support for the audit comes from a desire to identify areas of savings for the city and increase transparency within the city’s government, a thought he echoed at Monday night’s meeting.
“I would much rather have that input (from the audit) on the front end and try to get some usable data and some additional information out of that as we begin to chart a roadmap for the next city manager over the next two or three years,” he said Monday.
Treece expressed support for the audit after the issue was reintroduced during the meeting’s public comment section.
Maria Oropallo, chairwoman of the Columbia Finance and Audit Advisory Committee, said an audit would allow the city’s departments to run more smoothly and examine “processes that have not been looked at in ten years.”
Oropallo said that other city committees have voiced concerns about the need for an audit.
“Other committees would come over (to me) and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute. We have someone who’s running this, and we don’t think that’s the right way to do it.’” Oropallo said.
Second Ward Councilman Mike Trapp said he does not support the audit.
“It’s a lot of money,” Trapp said, “and I don’t believe it’s necessary.”
The cost of an audit would likely be between $500,000 and $750,000, according to previous Missourian reporting. Other council members have expressed concern about the audit in the past because of its high cost.
At Monday night’s meeting, the council also discussed whether a fee should be charged for tobacco retail licenses to help curb youth smoking and whether the city should be tasked with absorbing costs of political rallies, like that of Josh Hawley.