G’town earns good grade from auditors

GERMANTOWN—Victor Churchill of Sickler, Torchia, Allen & Churchill CPAs reviewed the firm’s audit of the town’s 2012 finances with the Town Board at last week’s board meeting.

Mr. Churchill suggested a few tweaks to the town’s systems, but in general declared them healthy. For example, during 2012 all board members did not review all bank statements, but this year they are looking over the statements.

As Supervisor Roy Brown has reported  cpreviously, a rubber stamp is available for his signature, kept under lock and key when not in use. “As auditors, we frown on this, but as long as controls are in place, we just really caution its use,” Mr. Churchill said of the signature stamp. A backup signatory should have his or her own stamp, he added.

Based on state opinion, the town needs a record of all fixed assets at historical costs, not market value, and this remains to be done. “Except for that, your financial statements are in line with what the state wants,” said Mr. Torchia.

In general, the town’s revenues and expenses are each at $23 million per year. At the end of 2012, one account stood at a negative balance, resulting from payroll transactions not covered by transfers. The transfers simply hadn’t come through yet, and all checks were honored. “The bank knows you,” said Mr. Churchill.

“Short of the few internal control recommendations and policy updates the auditors made, the audit is what I expected,” Mr. Brown said after the meeting. “I knew the town had a healthy fund balance and that our controls overall were good.”

In other business at the August 19 meeting the board:

Approved unanimously a resolution that gives the supervisor permission to investigate the town’s taking possession of the dam at Powder Mills Spring Pond, which is on private property. Councilman Joel Craig said that he had looked at the dam and it is in “bad shape.” But, “we already have several infrastructure projects going on,” he said. “We need to rate which one we tackle first.” Mr. Brown pointed out that any money to be spent on the project would have to be approved by the full board.

Approved unanimously the renewal of the six-year term of Ralph DelPozzo as sole assessor.

Learned that the lake on Palatine Park Road has a good chance of opening for swimming next year, after a year off for treatment of algae and other invasive plants. The algae is under control, reported maintenance director Anthony Cidras, and now treatment focuses on the top 12 inches of the water, removing nutrients for invasive species and creating a flow to prevent their growth. Mr. Cidras now applies all treatments himself. In the fall irises will be planted along the shore. Their roots devour nutrients.

Learned that the 2013 state equalization rate for the town is 100%.

Heard from Andrea Dunn of the Park Commission that the commission needs more volunteers. “This started big, but it’s small now,” she said. For example, people have told her that they’d like the town’s haunted hayrides back at Halloween. But “nothing’s going to happen if we don’t get more volunteers,” she said. The town’s picnic in July drew fewer people than expected, but the 5K foot race that was part of the event went well. “People who ran it loved the trail,” she said.

Accepted, with thanks for his service, the resignation of Larry Osgood from the Planning Board.

And the board learned the following dates for meetings and events:

Economic Development Committee meets Saturday, September 7 at 9 a.m. in the conference room at GTel, 210 Main Street

Wednesday, September 11, the 9/11 monument will be dedicated at 9 a.m. Volunteers who have worked on the monument will be specially invited

Saturday, September 14 state Senator Kathleen A. Marchione (R-43d) holds a town hall meeting in the town

Saturday, September 21 is the date of the town’s Apple Festival (9 a.m. to 8 p.m.). The town is also an official participant in the Hudson River Valley Ramble that day. The Germantown-Ramshorn Paddle strikes off at 1 p.m. from the Lasher Park Boat Launch (rain date, September 22).

“Get your kayak out,” said councilman Donald Westmore, “this is an easy paddle.”

All board members and an audience of about a dozen attended the meeting. The next meeting is Monday, September 23 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.




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