Friday, May 24, 2024
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Spreadsheet Error Latest Issue In CRMC-City Council Budget

A spreadsheet error found in the Cookeville Regional budget has become the latest issue in Cookeville City Council’s approval of that budget.

Administrators found the $400,000 issue as they prepared the final budget documents for next week’s first reading by council. Chief Financial Officer Tommye Rena Wells said she found the error in the marketing and other expense line items.

“I do want to note that total revenue, total expense and net income in the budget that was presented and was approved has not changed,” Wells said. “So those numbers are still the same as you will see on the screen tonight. There’s just an reallocation of dollars and the other expense in marketing up to the employee benefit line.”

During a CRMC Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night, CEO Paul Korth said the medical center took the roughly $400,000 from the error and moved it to help with expected retirement costs. The city and medical center are currently awaiting an audit from the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System. The system incorrectly billed the city retirement premiums for city employees who moved over to Cookeville Regional after the 1999 split of the two entities. CRMC should have been billed for those retirement costs.

Korth said during a work session several weeks ago, the audit will produce higher costs for the medical center and lower costs for the city. Korth said Thursday night that his team wanted to go ahead and build more money into the budget for the anticipated increase.

“We won’t spend any dollars less or more than what TCRS tells us,” Korth said. “TCRS sends you a bill, you send them a check.”

Korth contacted council members earlier this week about the mistake. Council Member Mark Miller said Thursday he still was not sure which budget was the correct budget.

“I do sincerely apologize for this mathematical error,” Wells said. “It was truly an honest mistake and I apologize for all the confusion that it has created.”

The first reading of the CRMC budget expected to take place next Thursday. For the first time in this council’s three years of approving budgets, council members have gone in-depth on the CRMC budget including two work sessions. The budget analysis comes just weeks after an investigation by the council into the hiring of Mayor Ricky Shelton as CRMC’s Chief Strategy Officer. The council has spent several months questioning its ability to manage operational issues at the hospital.