City of Charleston Considering Illinois-Based Accounting Firm to Manage ARP Money
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – City of Charleston officials are considering an out-of-state accounting firm to handle the nearly $ 37 million US bailout (ARP) money.
A resolution was presented to city council on Monday that recommended that a contract be awarded to BDO USA, LLP, an Illinois-based accounting services firm. Jonathan Storage, director of the city of Charleston, told 580-WCHS that the recommendation came after a selection process that took several months.
Storage said the city was working to put a structure in place to handle the $ 36.8 million in ARP funding. He said 12 national and storage and local audit firms responded to the city during a search.
“BDO is well versed in how federal rules work, how state works, and how local governments are supposed to follow state auditor rules,” Storage said.
Consultation fees via BDO could cost Charleston up to $ 500,000. A debate erupted during the meeting over why the city would pay the agency when the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office programs were free.
Storage said that “Project Mountaineer,” via the West Virginia Checkbook, gives people insight into how local governments spend money, but it doesn’t do what the city needs for ARP money.
He added that ARP money has many requirements and the city must be responsible for quarterly financial reporting for the US Treasury Department and handle all subrecipients because Project Mountaineer does not track entity spending.
“Project Mountaineer has nothing to do with our trying to ensure that there is no fraud, abuse or embezzlement once the ARP money leaves the city’s bank account.” , did he declare.
During the meeting Joseph Jenkins, D, Ward 12, chairman of the Charleston finance committee, said: “In terms of what the auditor could provide to the city, I don’t think they could all follow. reporting to make sure we’re following regulations, ”Jenkins said. “That’s why it’s good that we have the accounting firm. “
Storage has not ruled out the city using the auditor program like other local government entities do.
In December, Councilor Courtney Persinger, R-Ward 15, sponsored a bill to include Charleston in Project Mountaineer. The bill has been referred to an ARP funding advisory committee and finance committee, but the committee has yet to set a meeting.
Persinger said at the meeting that the ARP committee should meet to have his bill go somewhere, but there are no meetings scheduled.
He said joining the program would require the city to have software conversions to allow the auditor’s office to bridge the gap with the city’s accounting software. State Auditor JB McCuskey plans to present the program to city council in the coming weeks.
“When you talk about $ 36.8 million on top of the city’s normal operating budget of $ 100 million, that’s a lot of money to track and a lot of accounting due diligence that the city does. doesn’t have the bandwidth to do 100% internally, “Storage said.