Auditor: Franklin County should have budgetary authority over RV park at TRAC in Pasco

Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldApril 16, 2014 

Franklin RV Park TRAC

The Franklin County commissioners and county auditor discussed removing the Franklin County RV Park at the TRAC facility in Pasco from TRAC management responsibilities.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Franklin County should take budgetary authority over the recreational vehicle park at TRAC away from the people who manage the event center, the county auditor advised Wednesday.

The county is on the right course by outsourcing operations of ATMs at TRAC and by going out for bid on an outside audit of the facility, Auditor Matt Beaton told commissioners at their meeting.

But it could create a conflict of interest for TRAC to receive money from the RV park budget while it has authority over that budget, he said.

TRAC uses money from the profitable RV park, which is owned by the county, to help offset losses at the event center, which the county and Pasco share ownership of, Beaton said.

He recommended putting oversight of the RV park budget in the hands of county Administrator Fred Bowen.

TRAC also needs to better detail the reporting of its landscaping duties at the RV park, Beaton said.

Beaton wants to see TRAC's advisory board play a larger role in assisting with decisions there. Board members should provide oversight of the RV park, and may have never allowed the facility to manage its own cash machines had they known about it, he said. Franklin County was faulted for inadequate control of the ATMs in a recent State Auditor's Office report.

Beaton was unable to find records of the minutes from the TRAC board's quarterly meetings, which are supposed to be kept with the county commission and city council, he said.

"A robust advisory board that is valued by management as a necessary function in its operation will result in better transparency and accountability," Beaton's report said.

Pasco Councilwoman Rebecca Francik, a member of the advisory board, said later Wednesday that the TRAC board needs a better understanding of what its role is supposed to be.

County commissioners have asked the advisory board to come up with ideas, but the board has not been able to present those ideas, she said.

"No matter what we proposed, the answer was 'no,' " Francik said. "At some point, I'm going to stop proposing ideas if the answer is always 'no.' "

The TRAC advisory board should be challenged with more than what it now is, said Councilman Al Yenney, who also serves on the board.

"I don't think any of our recommendations would hold much water," he said. "Part of that is that almost anything TRAC needs to do in the future is going to be expensive."

The advisory board's next quarterly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

Three members are appointed by the city council and and three by the county commissioners. The board appoints a seventh member.

Commissioners were supportive of Beaton's presentation, but did not take any votes on the issue.

"It's a level of scrutiny they have not had in the past," Commissioner Brad Peck told Beaton. "I do not think the amount of detail you are asking for is unreasonable."

TRAC General Manager Troy Woody declined to comment on Beaton's recommendations after the meeting.

"It is what it is," he said.

Also Wednesday, the commissioners appointed Mike Corrales of the Othello area to represent the Basin City district on the county planning commission. He replaces David Piovesan, who is leaving the board after 26 years.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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