- Based on risk assessment and public suggestions
- New audit areas include procurement practices, Economic Development Incentive funds, Business Improvement Districts
- Expected to come before Board Tuesday, June 19
County Auditor Chris Horton has proposed auditing the County’s procurement practices, Economic Development Incentive funds and Business Improvement Districts in Fiscal Year 2019. The Board is expected to consider approving the plan, developed in conjunction with the County’s Audit Committee, at its June 19 Recessed Meeting.
“I base my audit plan on risk assessment, using a variety of sources including suggestions from the public,” Horton said. “These audits are meant to improve effectiveness and efficiency, recommend ways to economize, improve transparency, strengthen internal controls and ensure legal compliance.”
The County Auditor reports to the County Board, independent of management, and conducts performance audits of County departments, offices, boards, commissions, activities and programs that directly or indirectly report or are accountable to the County Board.
Procurement practices efficiency audit
Horton plans to audit the efficiency of the County’s procurement practices by examining the Department of Management and Finance, which manages procurements, and other departments. The initial objective is to assess the efficiency of County procurement practices from a department’s initial request through contract completion and to analyze root causes of any identified inefficiencies.
Economic development incentive funds
Arlington Economic Development’s process for monitoring economic development incentive funds for compliance with agreed-upon requirements also would be examined. The planned audit may also include the quality and frequency of economic development incentive fund reporting, quality and accuracy of information used in the reports and root cause analysis for any issues identified in the audit.
“As the County works to reduce its office vacancy rate, it is important that our incentive practices are efficient and effective,” Horton said.
Business Improvement Districts
Horton also plans to evaluate how well the County is overseeing the Business Improvement Districts that are funded by the County in Rosslyn, Ballston and Crystal City, and whether improvements are needed to facilitate their strategic effectiveness.
“Some of the things I may be looking at are whether the County is ensuring that the BIDs comply with current BID agreements, whether we need to make improvements in BID agreements or work plans, the effectiveness of the County’s guidance to the BIDs and the timeliness and accuracy of fund transfers to the BIDs,” Horton said.
Other possible audits: Neighborhood Conservation, Site Plan benefits
Horton said he may also audit the County’s Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Commission (NCAC), which makes recommendations to the Board on Neighborhood Conservation projects that enhance the safety and beauty of Arlington neighborhoods, if capacity allows.
“This was an audit recommended in comments from the public,” Horton said, “along with the topic of Site Plan benefits.”
The multi-department NCAC audit would assess the effectiveness of NCAC projects, including project selection, prioritization, scoping and execution. Similar advisory commissions in other local jurisdictions may be benchmarked, and a sample of current or completed projects reviewed to determine if there are opportunities for improvement.
Site Plan benefits, negotiated between the County and developers, may be audited to assess the effectiveness of controls to ensure that those benefits are tracked and followed-up through the implementation of benefits and associated ongoing monitoring. Horton said he may look at the quality and frequency of site plan benefits reporting, the quality and accuracy of the information used in reports, and analyze the root cause of any issued identified in the audit.
The FY 2019 Fiscal Year begins July 1, 2018.