Parks moving forward with financial outsourcing

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Parks commissioners gathered for a special meeting on Nov. 26 to discuss the possibilities of moving financial work to an outside agency.

Chair Bill Featherstone outlined that Parks could hire a new person to handle financials in-house or outsource all or a portion of the work. Commissioners determined that the cost of in-house bookkeeping would be around $40-50,000 annually. Commissioner Scott Bardin had spoken with Windle & Associates and Featherstone had spoken with Stone Financial. Featherstone gave an estimate of $300-500 a month for initial setup and $100-300 a month for the cost of a firm.

Featherstone said he thought that Parks needs to outsource and they could consider bringing financial items back in-house over time. Commissioner Draxie Rogers voiced her approval

Conversation moved to whether Parks would put the work out to bid. Bardin that there was no need as finances were considered a professional service, but Featherstone thought it good for PR. Bardin also mentioned that the firm would have to track the ¼ cent Leatherwood Tax, 1/8 cent sales tax, and operating costs separately.

At the mention of Stone Financial using Quickbooks®, commissioner Steven Foster mentioned that Bardin had been concerned about Parks using the software. Commissioner Dave Hartmann followed up that the software would not stand up to a legislative audit.

Bardin clarified that the issue was oversight as anyone could go into the software and change the numbers. An accounting firm would have the oversight necessary for a legislative audit and software would not be an issue.

Commissioner Ruth Hager made the motion that Parks decide on an accounting firm during the meeting with Rogers seconding. Approval was unanimous, but Featherstone voiced that were he able to vote he would have voted against it. He said that if Parks gets it wrong, they will have to restart.

Commissioners realized they could not make a decision due to a lack of information on services offered by the two firms and not having definitive commitment from either for the work. Hager amended her previous motion to say that Parks would choose to outsource financials.

Parks held a special meeting for requests for proposals after their workshop on the Master Plan and policies and procedures manual on Dec. 3.

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