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Duffy Says Audit Shows Town On Right Fiscal Track

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – A recent audit performed on the town of Lewisboro finances revealed that while it still faces a deficit, the town is on the right fiscal track.

“The bottom line [of the audit] is that we have first positive operating results in six years,” said Town Supervisor Charles Duffy. “We spent less than we brought in. We started the year with a deficient fund balance of $655,000 and that put us in a precarious situation. We are trying to recover from it organically and rebuild the fund balance on our own.”

One of the ways the town is trying to do that, Duffy said, is by implementing fiscal controls and watching every bill closely. Officials are also keeping a sharp eye on revenues to make sure they come in as anticipated.

“In 2010, we began monitoring [to make sure] revenues were coming in as planned,” Duffy said. “In the past, the board was unaware and unable to react to disappearing revenue.”

The board is now in contact with the county on a monthly basis to receive reports on tax revenues, which Duffy says have been better than anticipated. However, he said it’s not increasing revenue that will get Lewisboro out of its fiscal bind – Duffy is on the record for being opposed to significant tax hikes – but rather through reduced spending.

“Our plan is to spend less and build back through operating surpluses,” he said. “We have a line item in the budget that is collected through taxes. When it’s at $150,000, it gets added back to the fund balance.”

Duffy said that though the town received a drop in its credit rating from Standard & Poors last month, the news wasn’t all bad. He said Standard & Poors noted that the town was spending less and gave it a stable outlook instead of a negative one.

The town’s biggest concern in the wake of credit rating downgrade was its ability to borrow. However, Duffy said it recently refinanced its short-term debt of $1.3 million at a rate of 3/4 of 1 percent for next year.

Duffy said he believes the town should see a positive fun balance by next year.

“We are on the path to recovery,” he said. “I think we have turned the corner, but it’s a long road and we have to keep our eye on it and avoid double digit tax increases.”

The audit was performed by O’Connor Davies Munns & Dobbins LLP, a CPA firmed based in White Plains.

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