Audit: Funds should be used to reduce taxes

A State Comptroller’s office audit of Town of Barrington records concludes that town officials did not provide sufficient oversight of the town’s financial operations, resulting in property tax bills that were higher than necessary.

Town officials say they will make changes to their procedures and budget process to correct the issues that were noted in the recent audit by officials from the Rochester Comptroller’s office. Auditors examined the town’s financial management between Jan. 1, 2015 and April 10, 2017, looking back to 2014 to identify trends.

The audit says the lack of a policy for the level of fund balance to be maintained and no multi-year financial or capital plans resulted in an unrestricted fund balance of $1.2 million. Those funds could be used to lower real property taxes and help with cash flow, pay for unanticipated expenses, or set aside in reserves for future costs, say the state officials.

The audit says the town had an unrestricted fund balace of $859,265 in 2014, $1.07 million in 2015, and $1.2 million in 2016. The town underestimated revenues by $352,000 from 2014 to 2016, and overestimated health insurance and town hall expenditures by $73,000.

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