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City can't yet explain missing money

Margate resident, Anthony Caggiano, asked for an update at the April city meeting as to who in the city was responsible for overpaying the Alzheimer’s Family Center nearly a half million dollars. “What has been going on over the last two weeks to find out why the city paid out over $425,000 than it should have to the Alzheimer’s Center?” he asked commissioners. ____________ City staff informed commissioners in March that poor financial oversight had led to a significant overpayment in bookkeeping services to the Center. While the city agreed in 2007 to charge the center $4,000 a year to keep its books (up to $75,000), monies owed the city escalated to more than $500,000.

To boot, the city had lent the Center nearly $900,000 prior to 2007 without a written agreement; without the consent of elected officials and without public knowledge. Now, nobody’s talking about who is responsible. Margate City Manager, Doug Smith, said he and his predecessor knew about the missing money in 2013, but didn’t tell commissioners. And while the Margate finance director explained that the debt appeared in the City's 2014 CAFR (Compounded Annual Financial Report) as a receivable on the books, she didn't say whether it appeared years prior - or if the city knew whether the Alzheimer’s Center paid the city back prior to 2007. When the financial indiscretion surfaced last month, Joyce Karney for the Center told that the City was the Center’s only bookkeeper and was shocked to learn of the discrepancy herself. Caggiano didn’t receive an answer to his question, but Smith said the City was in the process of negotiating with the Center. “I’m not going to let this slip under the rug," Caggiano said. "I want to know who allowed these payments to continue.” _______________

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