The money spent at more than 50 of Austin’s parks and museums may be mishandled.

City auditors report problems within the Parks and Recreation Department could lead to missing revenue.
Auditors analyzed money received over the last four years.  Each year, more than $20 million flowed through the department.

“Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) staff made efforts to comply with the City’s cash handling policies. However, several issues resulted in an increased risk that PARD may be missing revenue. Additionally, inconsistent oversight of cash handling operations resulted in a lack of compliance with the City’s cash handling policy,” stated the report.

Problems noted include:

  • sites cannot determine the number of daily visitors
  • lack of training for cash handlers
  • shared cash registers
  • unverified deposits
  • technology issues

“PARD cannot verify how much money it should have collected at these sites. Supervisors at these sites can only compare the number of visitors recorded with the amount of money collected. The supervisors cannot determine if visitors were allowed to enter without paying, or if cashiers collected money from a visitor but did not record it,” said auditors in the report.

Procedures around how the department handles cash could put the department at risk of theft.

“The Parks and Recreation concurs with the Cash Handling Audit findings and recommendations and plans to work diligently on proposed strategies to improve processes and policies,” said Kimberly McNeeley, CPRP, Acting Director for Austin Parks and Recreation Department.

It was noted in the report Parks and Recreation Department staff made efforts to comply with policies.  Also, auditors did not identify any instances of theft.

The full report is available here