FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2015
City Auditor’s Office makes recommendations to improve lease management
Today, the City Auditor’s Office released an audit on General Services’ management of the City’s leasable real estate assets which include buildings, land, and antenna sites. The audit identified several asset improvements such as computerized lease records, the hire of a new Real Estate Manager, and the development of a business plan for the real estate office.
The audit concluded that while General Services leases some properties at below market rent, the City does not have a policy requiring evaluation of the social benefit provided by the by the rent subsidy, or public reporting of the value of the subsidies. In addition, there is a market for leasing City-owned antenna sites to wireless communication providers; however, General Services’ staff does not have the technical expertise needed to evaluate the appropriateness of the sites.
The audit determined that staff did not always record lease payment information, lease property addresses, and lease expiration dates accurately and did not always calculate annual rental rate increases correctly; staff requires accurate data in order to manage more effectively. Additionally, the usefulness of the lease database could be improved by adding an insurance field and by programming automatic reminders about cancelation deadlines and rent increases. General Services could improve revenue collection practices by following City policies regarding past-due payments and by applying lease payments to the oldest debt first. Transparency could be improved by obtaining Council authorization or giving Council notice, when required.
The audit includes recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the lease program. Management agreed with the recommendations. To view the report, go to /cityauditor.
Media inquiries should be directed to City Auditor, Doug Jones, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 816-513-3303.