MARLIN, Texas – $9.9 million is what the City of Marlin took in in the 2017 and 2018 budget, based on the recently released auditor’s report.
The city held a press conference over the weekend informing the public an auditor found several discrepancies with the city’s finances, particularly an excessive amount of voided checks, suggesting major accounting issues.
The auditor informed city leaders those are things they should be on the look out for.
“Most times, checks are reversed instead of voided. And we had an excessive number of voided checks,” says Mayor Carolyn Lofton.
Previous to the returned report, the city’s financial director resigned after being offered a new job. But the mayor isn’t pointing any fingers.
“I can’t say she was fully aware of what she was doing. I’m not going to speculate on that. I’m going to wait until we have an auditor come in, a forensic auditor actually look at the books and let us know what we’re looking at,” Lofton says.
The mayor says within the director’s last few weeks, they had seen some out-of-the-ordinary activity.
“There was a ramping up of activity in the account that included a lot of unposting of checks, deleting of accounts, name changes on some of the accounts on the record. So after we were made aware of that. And that’s when we were made aware of the significant amount of voided checks,” Lofton says.
But the major concern still is with the management of nearly $10 million in the city’s budget over the last couple of years.
“It’s obvious that our streets weren’t being repaired. So with that kind of money coming in, you would’ve thought that there would have been some upkeep around the city that we weren’t seeing, so it just makes us wonder,” Lofton says. “That’s what people are paying their utility bill for. That’s what they pay their taxes for. So that their streets are maintained and they can have drinkable water.”
While city leaders wait on a forensic audit to be conducted, there’s a vacant financial director position they are hoping to fill.
“We’re looking for someone hopefully with a background in accounting that can look at the books and show a true picture of what we have and what we don’t have and keep a more accurate record of what’s going out,” she says.