Lewisboro Gets An ‘A’ From Its Auditors

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The Lewisboro Town Board received good grades for its fiscal procedures in a recent audit. Photo Credit: Bob Dumas

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – The town of Lewisboro received a thumb’s up last week for an audit conducted on its financial and governmental activities.

The audit was performed by the Harrison, N.Y.-based accounting firm of O’Conner Davies for the period of January through December 2011.  In a report to the Town Board, the firm said, “In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly (and are] in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”

Though he wasn’t in office during the period of time the audit focuses on, Supervisor Peter Parsons said he was pleased with the results and believes it indicates the town is getting back on the right fiscal track.

“It was a good report,” he said. The auditors “had no problems and I think that’s all you can ask.”

An audit by the state comptroller’s office back in April was critical of the Lewisboro’s money management, saying the government did not adequately monitor the town’s financial operations and take timely action to maintain its financial stability.

Most of that audit focused on the period from Jan. 1, 2009 to May 31, 2011.

“We had the state audit, they took a confrontational attitude and that always provides for fireworks,” the supervisor said. “They made a huge deal that the highway superintendent’s salary was in the wrong fund. Does that affect our final financial position? No, of course not. Our lawyers agreed that we had done it right and our accountants weren’t particularly worried.”

Parsons said the current audit shows the town is in a better position than it was last year and that its negative fund balance has been reduced.

“The negative fund balance isn’t gone, but it’s smaller,” he said

Parson noted that O’Conner Davies made no suggestions for improving procedures or methodologies.

“We got an ‘A’ and (the auditors) were complementary” about Comptroller Leo Masterson,” Parsons said.

Parsons added that the audit wasn’t something required by law, but that in Westchester County “it is normal procedure.”

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Oldtimer:

No doubt about it, Republicans are good at taking an axe to the budget. Unfortunately that eventually leaves others to try and salvage the town, which inevitably has to result in a tax increase. I believe if it were up to the Republicans, virtually the entire town workforce would be part timers, no equipment would be replaced, and nothing would be repaired. Not exactly the way a well to do town should be managed.

Marcus Junius Brutus:

Mr. Parsons was not gracious enough to thank Charlie Duffy for this stellar audit probably wary of reminding taxpayers of the latter's fiscal restraint.

The town's previous Democratic supervisor, Ed Brancati, grew a record deficit despite his 25% tax increase because of his unwillingness to make the tough choices necessary to balance the budget.

With a tax increase of a few tenths of a percent, Mr. Duffy was able to wipe out much of the deficit in just one year. At the time, Mr. Parsons was among a group of Democratic leaders who came to budget meetings to warn of all kinds of dire consequences from Mr. Duffy's decisions-none of which came true.

The proposed 14% increase in highway spending which Mr. Parsons supports is a case in point. Rather than just accept the figure, the supervisor should challenge the department head to live within the current realities of rising tax delinquencies and plunging housing prices, and to develop a report prioritizing the town's needs rather than indiscriminately paving by the seat of one's pants.