Bell administration looks to clean up accounting errors


The Bell administration is proposing to clean up several years of accounting errors and, in the process, quell a potential state auditor investigation regarding the controversial purchase of two sport utility vehicles that cost taxpayers a combined $69,000.

Toledo City Council on Tuesday will review a request to transfer $437,646 from the city's general fund to what is known as “Fund 7087” for reimbursement of vehicles purchased from 2004 until the present.

City Finance Director Patrick McLean said the move is an “accounting adjustment” based on a request from council to review a decade worth of purchases.

Mr. McLean said the $437,646 will come from the expected 2012 general fund surplus, which he declined to estimate.

But Councilman D. Michael Collins - who along with Councilman George Sarantou - questioned the purchases last year of a 2013 Chevy Tahoe and a 2011 GMC Terrain that cost taxpayers, said the request was an affirmation that the vehicles were purchased improperly.

“This is a sly way of saying you caught me and we are going to fix it on paper before the auditors come in and say we were not appropriately handling the money,” Mr. Collins said. The vehicles are used by the mayor and his staff during the work day.

The legislation says the $437,646 total is primarily because of the purchase of police vehicles in 2004 and 2005.

“The funding source is still that capital improvements fund but that fund needs to be covered. That is the nature of that fund. It's a change back fund in effect,” Mr. McLean said. “We believe this will satisfy any audit questions about these issues and we think this will be the appropriate remedy.”