At today’s informal  City Council meeting, Councilman Sean Paige will propose a formal city audit of the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp.

In an email to his colleagues, Paige spelled out his reasons.

“(The EDC) has cumulatively received a lot of taxpayer and ratepayer money over the years, which makes up a sizable portion of its budget, but it has never, as far as I know, been subjected to an independent audit by the city,” he said.

Paige emphasized that while he has no reason to suspect that this money is being misused, he believes that any recipient of this much public money should be open to periodic review, given the obligation to ensure that funds are spent in an appropriate, cost-effective manner.

Questions Paige would like to see addressed include:

  • What specifically is public money used for?
  • Do these uses conform with the uses outlined in annual funding requests from EDC?
  • Are the EDC’s return-on-investment figures accurate?
  • How many jobs are actually created using those funds?
  • Are the jobs credited to EDC activities actually the result of EDC activities?

EDC President Mike Kazmierski said the organization has “bent over backwards” to meet Paige’s request for information.

“(We have provided him) with a copy of the independent audit we have done every year,” he said.  “We provide a copy of our audit to the City Auditor, City Manager and the entire Council and I have made it clear to Sean and the Auditor that they can audit us any time.”

“On a side note,” Kazmierski continued, “why would they redo an independent audit that is already done and paid for by people other than the taxpayers?  Are they going to do a separate (city) audit of any organization they support?  Doesn’t the auditor have enough to do?  An audit normally costs between $6,000 and $8,000 and takes about a week.”

Paige will need to persuade four of his colleagues to support such an audit. The informal council meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. today at City Hall.