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Is $45K parks board audit 'huge waste of money'?

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Posted at 1:03 PM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-19 13:03:35-05

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Parks Board will have to pay $45,000 for an outside audit that will examine how the organization uses its cash. 

Mayor John Cranley requested the audit of the parks finances when questions arose about the board's spending habits in October, while Cranley and the board were asking voters to approve a new tax for the parks system on Election Day. The parks board, however, will have to pick up the tab for the audit. 

Parks board commissioner Susan Castellini said Thursday she doesn't believe the cost of the audit will be worth it. 

"I just think it's a huge waste of money," Castellini said. She added that the board already conducts an internal audit of its finances every year. 

The audit will look at how the board uses money from the city and the nonprofit Cincinnati Parks Foundation, among other spending practices. Cranley requested the audit be done in October after documents revealed the board had requested the foundation pay for a series of the board's expenses, including a $27,000 expense request in April 2014. 

After the parks levy, which failed in the November election, Parks Board President Otto Budig said Thursday "many eyes are watching us." 

"I'm not sure how hard we can push back here," Budig said of the expenses for the $45,000 audit. 

Without the boost from a new city parks tax, the board is trying to determine how they can juggle the cost of maintaining the city's parks while also working to build new trails or rehabilitate parks throughout Cincinnati.