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Adam Edelen Says Ghost Govt Is Bankrupting You

November 14th, 2012 · 5 Comments

And he created a fancy database to track the $2.7 billion in wasted cash.

From a release:

Auditor Adam Edelen today unveiled a public database and accompanying report that shine new light on special districts, a $2.7 billion layer of government in the Commonwealth that has operated in the shadows for decades.

The auditor’s office has identified more than 1,200 special districts – unelected entities such as libraries, sanitation districts and public health departments that have the ability to fee and tax but operate with little oversight and accountability.

“It is a scandal that for generations no Kentuckian has been able to determine how many special districts exist, how much money flows through them, where they are located and whether they are compliant with state law,” Edelen said.

-SNIP-

“To be sure, there is a difference between the districts themselves and the scandalous lack of system-wide oversight of them,” Edelen said. “Their work is critical to the communities they serve, many board members put in considerable hours on a voluntary basis and the vast majority are honest stewards of the tax dollars they spend.”

The effort found that the current system treats special districts that comply with state laws the same way as those operating outside of it. The status quo is a muddled morass of statutes, bizarre classifications, uncertain responsibilities, confusing mandates and the absence of meaningful tools to compel compliance.

Forty percent of the special districts that should’ve submitted budgets to their fiscal courts did not; 15 percent that should’ve submitted Uniform Financial Information Reports (UFIRs) did not.

In addition, half the special districts with revenues greater than $750,000 a year failed to have required audits conducted on their financial statements. That represents $461 million in revenue that had no oversight.

“In short, the system is broken and in need of big change,” Edelen said. “A reformed and modernized system will make this ghost government more accountable to the public it serves.”

Fun?

Go through the database by clicking here.

Don’t worry, though, because this is Kentucky. Nothing will change. This is standard operating procedure.

Tags: Adam Edelen · Investigation

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Nov 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

    The links on the interactive map are dead links. Very nice.

  • 2 Conservative Kentuckian // Nov 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    If Edelen really wants to follow in Crit’s footsteps (see Association of Counties, Kentucky and League of Cities, Kentucky) he will take a look at the area development districts. The ADDs spend public money like crazy and are accountable to no one. Kentucky River ADD staff recently went on a retreat to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, which was basically a couple of days of shopping and eating.

    As for the special districts, the fiscal courts should definitely have veto power over the tax rates they set.

  • 3 Monica // Nov 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Man, oh man. Auditor Edelen is using an awfully broad brush on this matter.

    There are good, solid and fiduciarially (is that even a word??) responsible special taxing districts out there. And as usual, the ones that are doing it right do not mind the Auditor of Public Accounts to come in and review their books and processes. But, unfortunately, it costs the district to host the Auditor for such a review.

    But, regarding some of the other special districts, yeah, there’s some juicy stuff in there.

    I hate to see them all labeled as evil and self-serving–that’s just not the way it is on many. Probably on most of them.

    Just sayin’

  • 4 Conservative Kentuckian // Nov 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Since my comment said “awaiting moderation” when posted using Google Chrome:

    If Edelen really wants to follow in Crit’s footsteps (see Association of Counties, Kentucky and League of Cities, Kentucky) he will take a look at the area development districts. The ADDs spend public money like crazy and are accountable to no one. Kentucky River ADD staff recently went on a retreat to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, which was basically a couple of days of shopping and eating.

    As for the special districts, the fiscal courts should definitely have veto power over the tax rates they set.

  • 5 Chris Tobe // Nov 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Every one of these entities is in KRS. If we had full disclosure of benefits in KRS we have a lot more transparency of who is who and paid. However KRS is fighting disclosing of benefits since it would upset a lot of people to know the large pension packages in these entities