CALIFORNIA CITY — The City Council agreed to bring on outside consultants to help get the city’s financial books in order, but held off on a request to engage an audit firm until the preparation work is completed.
The Council voted 3-1 to engage Price, Page & Company as financial consultants, with Councilmember Kelly Kulikoff casting the dissenting vote.
The company will assist the short-staffed Finance Department in the financial preparations required before the last two years of the city’s budgets may be audited.
The city is trying to catch up on the necessary work for the overdue 2019-2020 audit, as well as audit the most recent year, City Manager Anne Ambrose said.
The agreement is for $184,000, which includes $30,000 in non-specified consulting fees on an as-needed basis, as agreed upon with city management.
“That amount of money would only be used if it’s requested,” Ambrose said.
The company has consulted with Cal City in the past, both in auditing and as a financial consultant.
“For us to be able to move forward, it is really essential to get this work done and get caught up,” Ambrose said.
By having the work done and bringing the books up to date, the city will be able to start the 2022-2023 fiscal year with everything in place, she said.
“We want to make sure we don’t fall behind again,” Councilmember Karen Macedonio said.
The Council voted 3-1 to table the request for a letter of engagement with Bryant L. Jolley, Certified Public Accountants, to conduct the audits for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 fiscal years, at a cost of $90,000.
Kulikoff again was the dissenting vote.
The firm recently completed the city’s audit for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, so it is familiar with the city and its finances.
Mayor Jeanie O’Laughlin felt a Request for Proposals should be used to determine who should conduct the audit, especially since the city isn’t ready for them to begin yet.
City Attorney Russell Hildebrand said this type of professional services agreement does not require the city to perform a formal Request for Proposals, and there may be cost benefits to using a firm that is already familiar with the city’s operations and prior records.
Ambrose requested that, should the Council decide to use an RFP for the auditors, it should do so soon, before firms are booked.
“I want to know more. … Bryant Jolley may be the best firm, but I don’t know that,” Macedonio said. “There’s been no public conversation about it.”
Ambrose said she could provide background information on the firm.