By Steve Bousquet

Herald/Times staff writer

The Florida Legislature on Monday approved a request by Sen. Eleanor Sobel to step in and audit the city of Hollywood’s shaky finances.

Sobel appeared at a meeting of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee in the Capitol to ask for the audit, citing the city’s declaration of a state of “financial urgency,” a recent 11 percent property tax increase, lucrative pension and health benefits for city employees and overly optimistic revenue projections.

Sobel questioned the work of Munilytics, an Illinois-based financial consulting firm hired by the city. She also questioned the city’s administrative set up, which she said separates the city’s budget and finance departments, resulting in accountability problems.

“An independent, unbiased additional set of eyes will promote greater responsibility, accountability and accuracy,” Sobel, a former Hollywood city commissioner, told committee members.