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.
“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.”
Go through the database by clicking here.
Don’t worry, though, because this is Kentucky. Nothing will change. This is standard operating procedure.