Liberty Township's first performance audit was released to the public last week and shows the township should be in good financial shape for the next five years.

Liberty Township's first performance audit was released to the public last week and shows the township should be in good financial shape for the next five years.

The 90-page audit was prepared by Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor's office, at the request of trustees.

Trustees in early 2007 agreed to pay the auditor's office about $14,000 for the performance audit, to develop financial forecasting methods and receive feedback on current operating procedures.

The audit compared Liberty's practices to other townships of similar size and demographics that have not undergone similar audits, as a method of comparison.

As part of the audit, Liberty developed a five-year financial forecast and examined spending trends and fund balances.

The audit focused on the township's five-year financial forecast and other areas including strategic planning and personnel policies.

The audit shows Liberty will have a positive general fund balance through 2011.

"However, the balance decreases in each year of the forecast. For the township to avoid negative fund balances in the future, important financial issues need to be discussed and plans put in place to achieve a balance between revenues and expenditures in the general fund," the audit states.

Liberty's $2.1-million general fund is used to cover most costs including staff salaries and capital improvements.

The township this year adopted a $12-million budget.

The audit suggested several cost-saving mechanisms such as:

Developing a formal budgeting process.

Developing a capital improvement plan.

Forming a technology committee to implement a technology plan, including considering "in-house" IT services.

Expanding online services for residents.

Since beginning performance audits about a decade ago, the auditor's office has conducted more than 160 audits, resulting in more than 9,800 recommendations and $1-billion in potential savings, according to information from the auditor's office.

A complete copy of the audit is available online by choosing the "online audit search" at www. auditor.state.oh.us.

kyouman@thisweeknews.com