FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A bill that would strengthen an existing law that requires Kentucky cities to have yearly audits passed the Senate Tuesday, according to the Legislative Research Commission.
Known as Senate Bill 91, the legislation would add “teeth” to the audit requirement by allowing the state to withhold money from a city that didn’t comply, said Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green.
“This is a transparency bill and accountability bill,” said Wilson, who sponsored SB 91. “Most cities already follow the law and submit audits on a timely basis. This bill is aimed at a few who do not comply.”
LRC says the second provision of SB 91 exempts cities with less than 2,000 residents from the yearly audit requirement. Those cities would be allowed to have biennial audits. Under current law, only cities with less than 1,000 can legally skip a year in the audit cycle.
Wilson said changing the audit requirements to every other year would provide significant financial savings to about 60 of Kentucky’s smallest cities. He said those municipalities pay around $10,000 per year on the audit. And that does not include mandatory publishing requirements or the amount of staff time it takes to work with an auditor.
“That’s very expensive for these small cities,” Wilson said.
The one-year audit requirement would still apply to any municipality that receives certain grants or federal funds, according to the LRC.
Other provisions of SB 91 clarify some outdated and ambiguous language in the current audit requirements, Wilson said. The measure would remove a mandate that a paper copy of the audit be sent to the Department for Local Government. The audit could instead be filed electronically. SB 91 also clarifies the timing for posting notice of the completion of a financial statement.
SB 91 passed by a 37-0 vote. It now goes to the House for further consideration.
Media release from the Legislative Research Commission.