State auditor criticizes Ohio city for alleged funds misuse
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio city improperly spent money from its water, sewer and environmental funds and should repay the money from the general fund, the state auditor said.
Youngstown should not have spent $4.4 million from those funds in 2017 and 2018, which included improper spending of $28,758 on an SUV for the mayor and $45,379 for software support and maintenance, The Tribune Chronicle reported.
The city used those funds “as their general-fund ATM,” said Auditor Keith Faber, who said he’d never seen anything quite like the spending.
A state audit of the city’s 2018 finances, released Tuesday, detailed $1.2 million that Youngstown improperly spent from its water and wastewater funds. That followed an August audit of the city’s 2017 finances that said reported $3.1 million in improper spending of water, wastewater and environmental sanitation funds.
The auditor took “a narrow view of the law” since Youngstown had used money from the three funds for economic-development projects for several years without an issue, said Mayor Jamael Tito Brown. He said he wouldn’t reimburse the general fund without a court order.