Franklin County commissioners agreed this week to pay CliftonLarsonAllen $50,000 to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the management of the TRAC event center.
The firm will look at a sample of events TRAC has played host to and determine if processes such as cash handling and ticket sales can be managed better, Auditor Matt Beaton said.
"It brings a level of objectivity and professionalism that can only help," he said.
Dave Beach, chairman of TRAC's advisory committee, told commissioners at their Wednesday meeting that his board initially opposed the outside audit because it comes out of the budget of the facility, which could already be headed for a record loss.
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But Beach said he feels that a review is a good idea.
"It's just a matter of whether we can spend the money or not," he said. "Ultimately, it comes out of the same pocket, but it looks worse on your budget than someone else's."
The county became interested in the outside review after a State Auditor's Office report released in March faulted TRAC for its oversight on ATM machines at the facility. The county has since hired an outside contractor to manage the machines.
Commissioners heard presentations in recent weeks from CliftonLarsonAllen, based in Minneapolis and Moss Adams, based in Seattle. They preferred CliftonLarsonAllen because it charged more than $9,000 less than Moss Adams. The Seattle company would also require the county to come up with its own new policies, while CliftonLarsonAllen will develop them itself.
The company is expected to start work on its review of TRAC in October and finish by the end of the year.
"I think this is something we need to do right away, as soon as we possibly can," Commissioner Rick Miller said.
The recommendations made by CliftonLarsonAllen will still need to be approved by commissioners, Chairman Bob Koch said.
"It will all be suggestions," he said. "CliftonLarsonAllen has no authority over anything."
Also Wednesday, commissioners:
-- Approved a permit for Mike Detrick to operate a construction and farm office near the intersection of LaPorte Drive and Fanning Road in the western part of the county.
-- Approved a $38,869 bid for new carpet at TRAC with Great Floors LLC of Kennewick.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom