NORMAN — In sharp contrast to recent criticism by city leaders, auditors gave the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau a clean audit Wednesday.
Certified public accountant Larry Pace said the financial audit was completed May 10 and covers the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012. NCVB received an “unqualified opinion,” which means there were no red flags or problems with the financial reporting.
Shortly after the audit presentation, the NCVB Board of Directors instructed leadership to comply with a request from the city council for a detailed FY 2014 budget.
“We are a very transparent organization,” Board Chair Kris Glenn said.
Glenn said every investment NCVB has made will help move tourism forward in Norman.
The new fiscal year starts July 1 and some NCVB board members expressed surprise that the line item budget the board approved earlier this year had not been given to the city council.
Instead, NCVB Executive Director Stephen Koranda gave the council a truncated, one-page budget and a 47-page marketing report. Koranda said because the business is so competitive, it was decided a long time ago not to give a detailed budget report to the city council.
“You’ve got to remember this is not private money, this is taxpayer money,” said Council member Linda Lockett, who sits on the NCVB board as an ex officio member. “If you don’t want the money, you can do whatever you want — that’s the trade-off.”
While NCVB reports to the council and has opened its meetings to the press in the name of transparency, Koranda maintains that the tourism agency is a private entity. NCVB is classified as a 501 C(6) agency. Under the Internal Revenue Code, that designation “provides for exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.”