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Audit shows BREC needs to 'strengthen its operations and oversight'

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BATON ROUGE - A recent audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office revealed that BREC is moving in the right direction to make improvements at its facility, but the organization needs to "strengthen its operations and oversight."

The audit looked at documents from 2013 to 2018.

Although BREC developed two comprehensive strategic plans for its parks, the audit says it didn't implement a formal planning process especially for the zoo until 2014. The auditor's office advises that BREC develop a proactive, written maintenance plan that meets AZA standards and "addresses aging infrastructure issues" to ensure that the zoo meets modern zoological standards.

In response, BREC said it anticipates the master plan for the zoo will be completed by September 2019. The organization also said it will reapply for accreditation in the fall of 2021. Officials say BREC will need to identify additional funding to fully implement the plan.

The audit also touched on improvement project spending. Documents show that BREC spent approximately $55 million on capital improvement projects from 2015 to 2018. It was discovered that BREC hasn't finalized procedures on how to manage the projects.

Officials say using consistent and documented criteria for prioritizing capital improvement projects is important because the criteria provides "formal and documented rational to taxpayers on how BREC makes project and funding decisions."

Other things mentioned in the audit include cost recovery targets, contracting policies and procedures, and more. Click here for the full audit. 

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