PLAINFIELD, NJ - The city’s annual audit has turned up only one recommendation for improvement – maybe not a headline-grabber, but a point of pride for Finance Director Ron West.

Besides tax revenues, every day city staff handles money for permits, license fees and other costs of providing services. Fiscal practices are subject to state and federal rules and audits show how well a municipality is conforming.

In 2014, the incoming administration of Mayor Adrian O. Mapp set a goal of tighter fiscal control and was able to reduce audit recommendations from 16 to 4, a 75 percent reduction.  It was an even bigger improvement over 2011, when a prior administration  racked up 28 findings, 19 of which were repeats, meaning the auditors previously cited them and they were not remedied.

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It takes months for the auditors to go over all the finances and the current report covers what happened in 2016. City Clerk Abubakar Jalloh announced the availability of the 144-page full report and a four-page synopsis last week.

The sole 2016 finding, for which the City Council will have to adopt a “Corrective Action Plan,” was that monthly animal control state reports be reconciled with license fees collected.

The Corrective Action Plan will then also become available for public scrutiny.

As an aside, West has remarked several times that city cats and dogs number only a couple dozen, if license fees are any indication. He has urged pet owners to make sure all cats and dogs are properly licensed.

Asked for a comment on the new audit finding, West said, “The entire Plainfield team is to be commended for helping to identify, implement and support changes in policies, practices and procedures that resulted in a reduction in audit findings from 16 to 1 over the past 3 years. The improvements in operational performance carried over to the City’s financial performance. The City ended 2016 with a surplus in excess of $9 million, of which $6.4 million was put back into the 2017 budget; a Moody’s rating on our debt of MIG1, which is outstanding, along with an optimistic Moody’s view of our future.”

Both audit documents are on file in the City Clerk’s office on the first floor of City Hall, 515 Watchung Ave. and are available for inspection during regular office hours.