Washougal receives a clean audit

Financial statements have no deficiencies

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The City of Washougal received some very good news Monday from the Washington State Auditor’s Office.

A report on the city’s financial statements and compliance with federal laws and regulations was released, indicating no deficiencies in financial reporting or internal controls over major programs including the pedestrian tunnel located near Pendleton Woolen Mills.

The tunnel — a $2.58 million project built under state Route 14 and over a Corps of Engineers levee — links Pendleton Way to Steamboat Landing. The tunnel was paid for by federal grants.

“It’s a great feeling to have a clean audit and move forward to next year,” Washougal Finance Director Jennifer Forsberg said during last night’s City Council meeting.

Earlier in the day, Mayor Sean Guard said he also was pleased with the results.

“This is the first audit that is for a complete year of our new administration,” he said. “The results are a great compliment to Mrs. Forsberg and her staff. We are finally seeing the results of countless hours spent correcting mistakes of the past and getting proper policies in place to insure that we are always in compliance.

“For our residents, this audit should help reassure them that their tax dollars are being accounted for correctly and that we have full accountability that those funds are being receipted correctly and used properly,” Guard added.

Forsberg, a former fraud investigative manager for the auditor’s office, was hired as the Washougal Finance Director in July 2010.

A State Auditor’s Office report released in October 2009 mentioned Washougal was not able to account for approximately $100,000 in revenue generated from festivals, including Washougalfest in 2008 and Riverfest in 2009.

The audit findings also mentioned the city did not have any recorded revenue from the Washougal Main Street Market.

The city paid the Downtown Revitalization and Implementation Committee $75,000 in 2008 and $50,000 in 2009 for its event management services.

After the auditor’s office was unable to determine what happened to some of the revenue from the festivals, Guard asked the Clark County Sheriff’s Office to proceed with a criminal investigation and determine if any laws were broken or if city funds were misappropriated.

That investigation is reportedly continuing, according to Clark County Sheriff’s Office Detective Tom Mitchum and his supervisor Sgt. of Major Crimes Kevin Allais.