By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- An independent auditor told the Board of Trustees that their books appear clean and their spending is well-documented.
“The audit did go well … there were no significant adjustments,” Carl Seyfarth of Seyfarth and Seyfarth CPAs told the board. “If [we] don’t make any adjustments, it’s a good sign you’re getting accurate information all along … we agreed with what you said.”
He reviewed the village’s books for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2013.
He noted that his report shows the village’s net equity is $4.5 million in the red. He said this is because of the rising cost of non-retirement benefits, which cost the municipality $5.8 million over the audit period.
“That rises every year,” according to Seyfarth. “If you take that out, you’d be $1.7 million to the good … there’s no way to get around that.”
Seyfarth offered two minor criticisms. He said “not-so-significant accounts aren’t reconciled as often as they were in the past.
“Go back to doing that,” he suggested.
Seyfarth also noted that the village office should have more “segregation of duties,” but said it may be difficult because they have so few employees.
He believes the board should do everything they can to support the village treasurer, Julie Sharlow. He pointed to the vast amounts of training required to keep up with the ever-changing accounting world.
Trustee Francis Carvel wanted to know how Massena stacked up against other audited communities, but Seyfarth said it’s not an easy juxtaposition.
“It’s hard to really make that comparison and have it meaningful in any way,” he said, adding that each government body has different facts and circumstances, personnel and available services.
“I think you have a good handle on things, one of the best handles after reviewing your financial statements.”