4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

City Auditor says City and Zoo can keep better track of property tax revenues

City Auditor suggest better monitoring of property tax revenues used by San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo is essentially on the lamb...rather lam...free to do whatever it chooses with $10.5 million a year from property tax subsidies paid for by San Diego residents, says a new report by San Diego's City Auditor.

The annual paycheck, which amounts to approximately 23 percent of the Zoo's yearly expenses, is collected by the County, funneled to the City and then get deposited in the Zoo's General Fund to help pay for exhibitions at the tourist attraction. The arrangement was set up way back in 1934 to be used "exclusively for the maintenance in Balboa Park of zoological exhibits."

In the May 6 report, the City Auditor found that while there is no evidence of misappropriation or misuse of funds and that the money is spent "in a manner broadly consistent with the City Charter," there is room for improvement and more efficient ways to track the revenues.

One area of concern is the lack of communication between the City and Zoo officials. In addition to the lack of communication, the Zoo doesn't necessarily track how the tax revenues are spent.

"As a result, neither the City nor the Zoo can definitively determine that funds collected...are being used specifically for maintenance of zoological exhibits."

And, the Auditor's report goes on to say, that even if the two entities were communicating and tracking the money, the exact use of what the money should be spent for is too broad and should be more narrowly defined.

Concluded the City Auditor: "The San Diego Zoo is an important part of the City's economy and culture. San Diego citizens support the organization through the provision of property taxes for the maintenance of zoological exhibits. Making a few minor adjustments to the process of budgeting, operating, and overseeing the Zoological Exhibits Fund as well as documenting procedures to enhance clarity will allow the process to be more efficient, transparent, and accountable to the taxpayers."

Follow this link to read the full report:

http://www.sandiego.gov/auditor/reports/fy13_pdf/audit/13-013_Zoo_Fund.pdf

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Eureka!: like the Samoa Cookhouse fed the lumberjacks

California’s oldest restaurant and a North County bargain
Next Article

Stuck on Russian ship in Ensenada, in Baja for the eclipse

Mexican cusswords, refugee on Coronados islands, Baja boom towns, woman pilots bring help, Orange Co. surfer adopted by farmers, Toyota crashes 300 miles south of San Diego, writer climbs 10K peak

The San Diego Zoo is essentially on the lamb...rather lam...free to do whatever it chooses with $10.5 million a year from property tax subsidies paid for by San Diego residents, says a new report by San Diego's City Auditor.

The annual paycheck, which amounts to approximately 23 percent of the Zoo's yearly expenses, is collected by the County, funneled to the City and then get deposited in the Zoo's General Fund to help pay for exhibitions at the tourist attraction. The arrangement was set up way back in 1934 to be used "exclusively for the maintenance in Balboa Park of zoological exhibits."

In the May 6 report, the City Auditor found that while there is no evidence of misappropriation or misuse of funds and that the money is spent "in a manner broadly consistent with the City Charter," there is room for improvement and more efficient ways to track the revenues.

One area of concern is the lack of communication between the City and Zoo officials. In addition to the lack of communication, the Zoo doesn't necessarily track how the tax revenues are spent.

"As a result, neither the City nor the Zoo can definitively determine that funds collected...are being used specifically for maintenance of zoological exhibits."

And, the Auditor's report goes on to say, that even if the two entities were communicating and tracking the money, the exact use of what the money should be spent for is too broad and should be more narrowly defined.

Concluded the City Auditor: "The San Diego Zoo is an important part of the City's economy and culture. San Diego citizens support the organization through the provision of property taxes for the maintenance of zoological exhibits. Making a few minor adjustments to the process of budgeting, operating, and overseeing the Zoological Exhibits Fund as well as documenting procedures to enhance clarity will allow the process to be more efficient, transparent, and accountable to the taxpayers."

Follow this link to read the full report:

http://www.sandiego.gov/auditor/reports/fy13_pdf/audit/13-013_Zoo_Fund.pdf

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
3

The city has a history of not really following where the money goes. Not just for the zoo. Do we have a city zookeeper (that is, someone who watches the zoo)? And who is it, I wonder. Unlike the wastewater people, who have to go look into the sewers, the zookeeper could go audit the elephants. Glad to hear this is all going to be improved.

May 7, 2013

Given the astronomical price of admission to the World Famous San Diego Zoo -- $44 for adults ages 12 and up and $34 for children ages 3 to 11 -- and the rampant commercialization once inside the gates, one wonders about this Depression-era subsidy from local residents. A parent with a toddler and a 'tween has to shell out $122 just to get in the door. This doesn't seem taxpayer-friendly to me.

May 8, 2013

The 1934 special tax sets aside 2 cents for every $100 of property value to support the zoo. It would take a ballot initiative to change any aspect of the tax. In Tacoma there is a local tax that supports the zoo, but residents get a substantive discount on zoo admission, in return. That is something that our zoo should offer to property owners, who pay the special tax. The only thing our zoo does for residents (or anyone) is offer a somewhat pricey year-long membership, which does provide unlimited "free" access, but this is not something that all property owners find useful. I support the zoo and don't mind the tax, and buy a membership. But as a nonprofit, the zoo does not really need this tax revenue. I don't know what percentage the current tax revenue comprises of the zoo's total income, but in 2007 it was 6% ($12.6 mill in tax, with $202 mill in revenue). The City Council has routinely rejected ballot proposals that would redirect the tax revenue to Balboa Park maintenance, in general. I'd have no problem with that. The zoo does very well; our Park has a backlog of real needs.

May 8, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close