KID hires CPA to review district finances

The Kennewick Irrigation District has hired a Kennewick certified public accountancy firm to determine the financial health of the district and find out where its money has been used since 2006.

LeMaster and Daniels will be paid $24,000 to do the special audit for KID for the four calendar years ending Dec. 31, 2009.

Board president John Jaksch said the audit will give Chuck Freeman, the newly hired secretary-manager, a fresh look at KID's finances and will help the board "make sure everything is correct."

The outside financial review comes following several years of changes. The water agency saw a turnover of eight board members in the past four years, a turnover of three secretary-managers, creation of a new tiered rate structure, the appointment of a new district treasurer and a changeover to a different accounting system.

Jaksch said all the changes warrant the independent audit of KID, which has an operating budget of about $9 million and about 53 full-time employees.

"We are not looking for anything special," he said, adding that the audit will examine all of KID's recent financial history, including its real estate funds.

"We may need to rebuild our reserves," Jaksch said.

The agency emptied its excess reserves for customers with pressurized water systems last year, refunding $1.4 million.

KID also plans to hire a consultant to do a cost of service and water rates study. But that review is not related to the LeMaster and Daniels financial audit, Jaksch said.

-- John Trumbo: 582-1529;