Auditors: Elmhurst Park District finances up to snuff

Outside firms combed through 2016 documents

Old York Road
(Elmhurst Titan file photo)

ELMHURST — Financial statements linked to the Elmhurst Park District and the Sugar Creek Golf Course pass muster, according to results from a pair of independent auditing firms.

State statutes require governing bodies have outside auditors comb through their books annually.

In the Elmhurst Park District’s case, officials hired two firms. Warrenville-based Lauterbach & Amen LLP combed through most of the district’s financial statements from 2016, though Oak Brook-based accounting firm Selden Fox reviewed the statements of the Sugar Creek Golf Course.

Both firms issued the park district finances a clean, unqualified opinion – accounting terminology that essentially means no irregularities were discovered during the line-by-line review of the various financial transactions.

During a recent discussion of the audit process at a park district board of commissioners meeting June 12, the auditors and park district officials noted how the process is a high-wire act at times.

Ron Amen, a partner with Lauterbach & Amen, said auditing is a balance between autonomy and collaboration.

“We can’t do our job without staff, but we have to remain independent,” Amen said of the process. “It’s an interesting dynamic of what we try to do. There are thousands of transactions that go through this park district every year.”

Amen in his discussion with the board of commissioners also attempted to clear up a common misnomer about the auditing process.

“Our role has nothing to do with the financial health of the park district,” he said. “What our job entails is ensuring the numbers presented in the audit are materially accurate.”

Lauterbach & Amen gleaned a few highlights from the district’s 2016 financial statements. The park district’s total net position, for example, clocked in at $43.4 million at the end of the year, up $471,378, or 1.1 percent, from the year prior.

In the past, Elmhurst Park District officials had one auditor look through all financial statements from the prior year, but commissioners and administrative-level staffers agreed to reverse course and bring in a second auditor in an attempt to further the independence of the process.

In a letter to the park district, Edward Tracy, vice president of Selden Fox, said the firm’s review of the Sugar Creek Golf Course financial statements was seamless.

“We encountered no significant difficulties in dealing with management in performing and completing our audit,” Tracy wrote in the letter.

Sugar Creek’s budget totaled $41,423 in 2016.

The Elmhurst Park District board of commissioners on June 12 also:

• Adopted a prevailing wage ordinance that sets the stage for the amount laborers, mechanics and other workers will be paid through next June.

The rates vary by position. On the high end, operating engineers are compensated $52.85 per hour under the revised schedule. On the low end, electric power workers will receive $29.30 per hour.

In accordance with the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act, park districts across the state are required to determine rates each June.

• Discussed some of the park district’s more recent social media efforts. The district recently purchased a GoPro camera to tout its various amenities this summer. The videos are being uploaded to Facebook and on the district’s website.

2016 Elmhurst Park District Audit by The Elmhurst Titan on Scribd

2016 Audit Sugar Creek Golf Course by The Elmhurst Titan on Scribd