April 11, 2024

Citrus Times

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Florida audit says Gulf Breeze didn’t address issues over golf course purchase

2 min read

Tiger Point Golf Club (Gulf Breeze)

Tiger Point Golf Club (Gulf Breeze)

(The Center Square) — The Florida Auditor General found in a recent follow-up audit several instances where the city of Gulf Breeze had not yet addressed specific issues.

According to the most recent follow-up report, the Northwest Florida city’s previous audit released in Sept. 2020 found that the city’s purchase of the 365-acre Tiger Point Golf Club was not appropriately acquired, while portions of city-owned land had been sold without following proper procedures.

The report noted that city records provided for the original audit did not demonstrate that purchasing the golf club was necessary or that acquiring the property was appropriate.

The auditor general recommended to ensure future purchases of property are appropriate, the city should establish policies that require a formal independent appraisal, business valuation, and a feasibility study to be obtained before a property can be considered for purchase.

In a response related to the golf club purchase, the city stated that they had approved a resolution during an Aug. 7 meeting to put in a revised property acquisition policy that followed the audit’s recommendations.

It was also previously found that the city had sold off four property tracts, two of which belonged to the Tiger Point Golf Club. Proceeds from the sale came to a total of $5.2 million.

According to the audit’s findings, the city failed to provide evidence that it had established policies and procedures that required an independent appraisal of city-owned property values prior to selling for at least two of the four property tracts.

In its response, the city stated that it had obtained appraisals and broker valuations and disagreed with the audit’s findings, further stating that appraisals for all four tracts of property had been obtained prior to sale.

However, the report notes that the records that had been provided contained only two appraisals and a real estate listing for the remaining two. The AG stated that a real estate listing does not constitute a formal appraisal or broker evaluation, therefore, the city still needs to provide this evidence.

The audit further found that the city did not correct previous findings, including failing to adequately maintain records in accordance with requirements and failing to establish an internal audit function. The city also continues to fail to demonstrate that financial statement auditors had been selected in accordance with state law.

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