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Late audit costs city big bucks

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Failure to submit its annual audit in a timely manner cost the city of Williston a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)–as much as $650,000–that would have replaced antiquated sewer lines on seven city streets and added a pressure reducing valve for the water system.

The grants are awarded based on a point system that includes matching funds, impact and EEO/Fair Housing criteria.

Williston was the only applicant among more than 48 statewide that received a penalty of negative 25 points due to the late submission of the FY 2011/2012 audit, which was due June 30, 2012 but was not submitted until July 2012.

Grant writer Fred Fox, who prepared the application, told the city council Tuesday night the negative impact would also be present on the next application.

Council President Jason Cason asked everyone in the room–from councilors to staff–if they had any indication the late submission would be detrimental to the grant application.

No one did.

However, Fox told the council he was confident someone on his staff had made city staff aware of the potential impact.

Cason said there were audit concerns that required amending but the council last year opted not to submit the audit and later make amendments. Instead, the council opted to clean up the audit then submit it–a move that proved Tuesday to be a bad decision.

Fox advised the council it could help build its next score by adding more matching funds and it could overcome the 25 penalty points since the city only missed the grant by 12.5 points.

 The next cycle will be in the fall, Fox said, and the penalty could stick as long as three grant cycles.