Ohio Dept of Administrative Services, MARCS
What led to this audit?
In October, 2022, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services approached the Auditor of State to request a performance audit. The Department wanted to better understand the financial condition of the state’s Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS). Specifically, the Department requested detailed financial modeling of the MARCS operational budget and information regarding the financial operations of similar programs in other states. The limited scope of this audit was agreed to by the Auditor of State and the audit was initiated in November, 2022.
What did we find?
MARCS is a radio system that allows for individuals from multiple organizations to communicate with each other on a secure network. In addition to routine day to day activities, the system is used during large-scale events and emergency response situations and allows for the coordination of efforts between agencies. Under the current model, users pay a fee to subscribe to the system and gain access. Using historical trends, we determined that, without increasing fees or obtaining additional revenue from the state, that MARCS could have an overall fund deficit as early as FY 2027. During the course of the audit, the Governor’s budget proposed that fees for MARCS be removed and replaced by a state subsidy. While not within the scope of our audit, we identified several questions that should be considered in relation to this budget proposal.