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CBRC planning audit

After months of periodic pressure from a former board member and a local labor leader, the Central Blair Recreation & Park Commission has agreed that it would be a good idea to have an audit — but not right away.

Bill Schirf, former mayor of Altoona, and Bob Kutz, president of the Blair-Bedford Central Labor Council, began asking for an audit when they learned in March that the CBRC had about $173,000 in reserve — a fact that came to the public’s attention because of the organization’s concerns about surviving its expected loss of revenue this year due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

Schirf recalled that there hadn’t been an audit in many years, and that the last one had not been a full-blown audit anyway — and that there had been some findings involved, according to Kutz.

“It’s a great idea now and then to have an audit,” Kutz said this week.

Audits, however, are not required for councils of government like the CBRC, whose members are the city of Altoona, Logan Township and the Altoona Area School District, because money they receive has been audited before being released from other entities, said commission solicitor Dan Stants.

Still audits are useful, just like annual physicals for people, said commissioner Ken Decker, the city manager.

It doesn’t make sense to do an audit now, however, given the financial upheaval of the current year — because the findings wouldn’t reflect the commission’s normal activities and because the commission can hardly afford it, given its COVID-19-related losses, according to commissioner Ed Frontino, a Logan Township supervisor.

It would make more sense to revisit the matter after the New Year, and it would probably make sense at that time to postpone it to 2022, so it would be a look-back onto 2021, which may be more normal than this year, according to Frontino.

The organization’s annual budget is about $1 million, and the revenue losses are about 25 percent, Decker estimated recently — although expenses have offset about half that loss, Executive Director Mike Hofer estimated.

“That is jumping off the fourth floor money” for an organization the size of CBRC, Decker said.

No one is suggesting that any impropriety is behind the audit suggestions, Decker said.

The cost of an audit would be about $7,500, and the city would probably pay the bulk of that, officials indicated.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.

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