State Auditor Jim Zeigler will make speech at the Montgomery Capital Rotary Club on Thursday announcing emergency measures his office will take in order to keep the State Auditor’s office operating following three years of budget cuts.
Zeigler says his office has been slashed by 28.5% since he took office in 2015. According to Zeigler the budget is $368,000 below the minimum needed to audit the state’s $1.9 billion worth of state property items.
“This marks the third year in a row that our budget has been cut,” Zeigler said. “We are $368,400 below sea level. With the severe cuts the previous two years, we cannot do our constitutional job of property inventories with this latest cut. We had already cut everything we could after the last two budget cuts, so there is nothing left to cut.”
The State Auditor is responsible for inventorying state property items worth $500.00 or more, plus all weapons and sensitive items. When Zeigler took office in January 2015, the office had $1,066,922 to operate. With three budgetary cutbacks in a row, the office will have only $762,575 starting October 1.
“We have already dropped from 11 full-time and 1 part-time to six full-time and twi part-time employees,” Zeigler added. “We dropped from five field auditors to two full-time and one part-time to audit the entire state.”
In order to adjust for the cuts thus far, the State Auditor’s office has already made the following cuts:
- Discontinued the cell phone contract for the auditors
- Cut office supply budget
- Delayed replacing aging vehicles used by auditors
- Transferred three vehicles to other agencies to reduce insurance since we have lost field auditors
- Cut overnight travel and only allow daily travel by the auditors
- Reduced the number of allowable miles for each auditor to travel from their home base to reduce vehicle fuel and maintenance costs
- Delayed replacing computers and printers
- Cut state travel to national property management conferences
- Reduced office space that was being leased.