Hilliard City Council will return from its summer recess to a full workload.

City Council is scheduled to convene at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way.

Topics that could be discussed include a pending rezoning application for the Hill Farm residential development; the results of a financial-controls audit by Schneider Downs & Co.; proposed legislation for a forensic audit of past financial controls; and reimbursements for sewer backups into basements.

Council members also could learn the results of a 10 a.m. Aug. 27 meeting between Hilliard and Columbus officials concerning Hilliard's request to add sanitary-sewer taps in its western fringes.

The results could have a bearing on the rezoning application for Hill Farm.

City Council on July 9 tabled the rezoning application for Hill Farm, for which M/I Homes wants to build 229 single-family residences on 207 acres on the north side of Scioto Darby Road, west of Elliott Road and east of Langton Road.

The Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 8 issued a positive recommendation for the rezoning of 163 acres of the 207 acres from rural residential to a conservation district.

The development slightly exceeds the 1-unit-per acre recommended for the conservation district but more significantly, according to city officials, the Hill Farm development would claim the last of the 2,000 sanitary-sewer taps from Columbus in the city's exclusive expansion area.

Concerning a forensic audit, councilman Les Carrier said he believes it is needed but council President Albert Iosue said further discussion is needed.

A forensic audit would be separate from the audit Schneider & Downs is conducting on the city's financial controls.

Typical financial audits confirm the accuracy of a company's financial records, according to basic accounting principles, but forensic audits go deeper, focusing on an issue defined by a client, examining financial information to determine if it is accurate and lawful and meeting standards for use as evidence in court, if necessary.

The audit was requested in the wake of the alleged theft of more than $500,000 by Heather H. Ernst, the former deputy director of the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department.

A trial date for Ernst, who pleaded not guilty, is scheduled Sept. 26.

Carrier said the city needs a forensic audit to learn how the money allegedly was stolen and to address some other concerns.

"I'm also going to (ask for discussion of) sewer backups (on Aug. 27)," Carrier said.

In the past several months, residents in the Hillcrest subdivision reported recurring sewer backups into their basements during heavy rain.

A subsequent inspection revealed tree roots were blocking a sewer line, according to Carrier.

As a result, he said, some residents are entitled to further compensation.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo