"A day of reckoning" draweth nigh for the City of Casper, saith the auditor.

Tuesday, Casper City Council approved a $128.1 million budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. City leadership took more than a few hits after much number crunching and accounting angst over the past seven months.

They had it easy.

In 1926, unspecified political problems in the two prior years addled the auditor hired to make sense of the city's finances.

Colorado Certified Public Account A.D. Lewis, with an office in the Consolidated Royalty Building in Casper, barely could keep a lid on his professional demeanor in the audit's cover letter dated May 1, 1926: "This report represents the conditions and transactions for the years 1924 and 1925, subject to the following limitations and qualifications and is nearly correct as possible, owing to the lack of records and cooperation of the city officials of the last city administration."

Mr. Lewis' comments quickly went from professional to peeved.

The Cash Book: "The Treasurer's office has not had a cash book and the records of Receipts and Disbursements is such that the Treasurer can at no time tell the exact amount of cash in any bank without a great deal of detail labor figuring up the deposits and checks."

Insurance: "We found the insurance on the city property in a deplorable condition. Some building [sic] had as much as twice the proper amount of insurance and some not nearly enough."

Purchasing: "Your City Clerk is also purchasing agent but we found that the system in vogue was very lax. Any employee being able to buy what he considered he needed and getting an order afterward."

Lewis created forms for the clerk's office to simplify purchasing, with this caveat: "This system will be worthless if all of the different checks made as to price, extensions and authority for purchase are not made."

From there, Mr. Lewis' comments plummeted from peeved to pissed.

"We were informed that prior to leaving office the former City Treasurer had two truck loads of papers taken to the City dumping grounds and burned....

Records: "At the time of starting this Audit on January 5th, 1926, we found the records of the City Treasurer's office, with the exceptions of the Assessment Rolls, Warrant Registers and Receipt books, in three boxes in the vault. These boxes were piled full of warrants, Coupons, Bonds, Checks and miscellaneous papers, all thrown in the boxes there being no semblance of order. The files of the office were empty and no correspondence has ever been found except for one small file.

"We were informed that prior to leaving office the former City Treasurer had two truck loads of papers taken to the City dumping grounds and burned....

"The condition of the different books and records in the City Treasurer's office are such that no one can tell anything about them. The record of receipts and disbursements have not been kept up and distribution of the items are incorrect and in many instances not carried out at all. The Tax Rolls are in such a shape that it is impossible to tell anything about them and it will be an impossibility to ever get an exact check of the amount of Improvement Taxes and Interest due. We have made no attempt to check those over, due to the lack of time and the cost would be prohibitive. The property owners will undoubtedly check them up some time as they will not pay the assessments twice."

General Fund and Water Fund: "There has been a general misappropriation of funds in the manner in which the different accounts have been switched around. In the Improvement Funds interest has been paid out of principal, principal out of interest, or if necessary and any particular account was short of funds the fund from some other account would be used."

Finally, Mr. A.D. Lewis pulls out the prophetic stops.

"There is bound to be a day of reckoning and it it is our opinion that it is nearly here as the available funds for the Improvement Bonds and interest and the retirement of bonds for the Improvement districts is limited. In the next few years Bonds will have to be retired in large amounts and the City will not have the funds. At different times money has been transferred from one account to another, noteably General Fund to some other fund and that account cannot now be reimbursed."

Somehow, Casper survived the mid-1920s.

Somehow, Casper will survive 90 years later.