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Once again, the annual audit of the city’s finances is late being published.

This is in violation of the city’s charter.

It may not be a big deal but it raises questions.

Mayor Lenny Curry is an accountant. He certainly wouldn’t be expected to be lax about completing his own work. Why does he allow the city’s accountant to continually be late?

The 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report was due May 1. It hadn’t been posted on the city’s Web site Tuesday morning.

It is not the first time.

The 2015 audit was published 6-1-16.

The 2016 audit was published 4-19-17.

The 2017 audit was published 6-22-18.

The 2018 audit was published 3-29-19.

The 2019 audit was published 5-29-20.

Section 5.11 of the city charter says:

“The council shall provide for an annual independent audit, certified by an unqualified opinion, of the accounts and financial transactions of the consolidated government…

“The final report of the independent audit shall be completed as soon as practicable after the close of the fiscal year and in no event later than 6 months after the close of the fiscal year. The audit report shall be filed with the secretary of the council and shall be available to the public.”

Suspicious people might think the numbers were being cooked.

We have no evidence that is true, but accurate numbers on spending and debt are important when Curry and the City Council are spending billions and planning to spend many more billions.

Curry is a master at “freeing up” money that can be used for current spending. It was a feature of his pension plan reform. Future debt is piling up so that money previously used to retire that debt can be used today. The future debt will be paid with future taxes.

Curry’s current plan is to double the local gas tax and use the proceeds to supplant other spending so he can continue providing free septic tank removal and free sewer line connections for thousands of homes.

The justification for spending upwards of $2 billion is murky.

It rests on alleged promises decades ago that would not be binding on anyone even if they were made, which is doubtful.

Another claim, not yet proved, is that the septic tanks are a public health hazard.

Despite not explaining the need adequately, Curry is in a hurry to get the tax raised. If enough council members share his haste, it could be voted upon soon.

Could that be a reason the audit is late? Could it contain numbers that might raise doubt or change a few votes?

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Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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