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Florida lawmakers order audits of Mexico Beach and Greenville

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(The Center Square) — Florida lawmakers are ordering audits this week for Mexico Beach and Greenville and will take a closer look at Winter Springs’ finances.

The Florida Joint Legislative Auditing Committee met Monday and voted to launch an investigation of Winter Springs concerning recent questions raised for city officials over recent audits.

Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Lake Mary requested the governor’s Office of the Chief Inspector General investigate the City of Winter Springs.

The audit uncovered instances where a penny sales tax had been misused and the city’s wastewater plant continues to receive fines and penalties for wastewater treatment violations, including the discovery of fecal chloroform in wastewater discharge.

“The City of Winter Springs has issued fifteen boil water notices in the last year, some citywide, some neighborhoods,” Brodeur said. “That means they can’t do water treatment either…What did they do last month? They hired the same contractor to run everything that they have been running.”

Sen. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, had his request approved when he asked the committee for an operational audit into the City of Mexico Beach after the city’s mayor, Michelle Miller, contacted Trumbull.

Trumbull explained that this came after the failure to submit a timely annual financial audit report, which was more than a year past due. There was also a failure to remove an unauthorized signer, who was a former employee and listed on the city’s bank account.

Committee Chair Rep. Michael Caruso, R-West Palm Beach, noted that the city’s mayor was being denied access to financial records, which hindered her ability to carry out her duties, as she is responsible for these records.

“I think an audit is certainly called for when the other members of the council don’t want her to have access to those records, it might be good that someone independent steps in and takes a look at it,” Caruso said.

Rep. Alison Tant, D-Tallahassee, had her request approved to audit the town of Greenville after constituents and previously elected officials raised concerns about the management of Greenville and the operations of the town council, including budget transparency.

Concerns also included failures to submit timely budgets, administrative staff being told not to record minutes during meetings as required by law, failure to hold elections in 2022 for council members and a failure to provide specific details to the public regarding public expenditures.

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