Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Swimming for Dollars

There is no better time to talk about the local swimming hole than at the end of the season. How many times have we heard from our government officials that programs like the pools cost too much and get cut?

One of the problems that might keep those pools open is making sure that the revenue that they do generate actually makes it to the bank. That was something of a problem in Wapakoneta last year.

Basic accounting procedures need to be followed any time there is an exchange of money between the public and a public institution. Whether it is overages or shortages, discrepancies need to be accounted for and addressed. A recently released state audit revealed that Wapakoneta lost $892 to these kinds of inaccuracies.

That may not sound like a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but it just might be the difference between that pool being opened or closed next year. Programs that contribute to their own bottom line tend to get saved. While the loss might only represent roughly half of what a lifeguard might make, the impact will be felt in youth employment opportunities in Recreation in the city.

Unfortunately, these sorts of problems are all too prevalent in government programs. How many programs could ultimately save themselves from the chopping block if they managed their money better? I suspect a great many smaller programs, such as this one, would be less likely to be targeted if they were better managed fiscally.
We should always be on the lookout for ways to keep our public services financially accountable.