Courts & Crime

Miami auditor finds more budget patches with mulitimillions

Already in the sights of federal investigators over questionable money transfers, Miami's fragile financial picture took another hit Monday: The city auditor found yet another series of multimillion dollar moves to balance Miami's sinking books.

In a stinging report, Auditor Victor Igwe, backed by an opinion from the state attorney general, said the city tapped into even more restricted money -- this time, $9.47 million in gas taxes -- to fill gaping budget holes.

The 154-page report says the city shifted the money to the general fund to balance its plummeting checkbook, an improper practice that has been used in the past to mask deeper financial woes. The money went to operate street lights.

The city is already under federal investigation for the questionable transfers of millions in Impact Fees and other restricted funds, but this is the first time the use of gas taxes was found by auditors.

In his report, Igwe concludes the practice of tapping into the Local Option Gas Tax has been going on for nearly a decade.

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