Amid all the hoopla of Mayor Jerry Sanders’ speech lambasting the private consultants something got lost: the mayor’s timeline for completing the audits.

Remember, that’s really what most of this is about. The city needs the audits so it can borrow money again and do the stuff a city is supposed to do for its residents, such as providing clean drinking water, safe sewage systems and new fire stations to keep up with growth.

Sanders specifically needs that access to Wall Street to enact his big borrowing plan for the troubled pension system. He wants to borrow $574 million in the next two fiscal years. Well, he actually has to borrow the money – or find another way to get another $500 million into the pension system in the next two years. If he doesn’t, the city would likely trigger a clause in its labor contracts that returns concessions to employees that were made in previous talks.

Auditors KPMG are working on the fiscal year 2003 audit as we speak. But they won’t certify that audit until the Kroll investigation is done – and until the city and KPMG clean up additional accounting issues still plaguing the city.

According to Sanders’ remarks at council yesterday:

It is our reasoned opinion at this time that the FY04 audited financial statements can be released approximately three weeks after the release of the FY03 audited financials. The FY05 audited financials will follow 90 days following the release of the FY04 statements. And we will then begin to work on FY06.

It was – and remains – my plan to re-access the public credit markets at the end of this calendar year.

The 2005 audit must be completed in order get to those markets. So, if you do the math backwards, that means he would expect the 2003 audit to be out by sometime around mid-September at the latest.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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