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Aug 21, 2012 5:51 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Earns Positive 2011 Audit

Aug 21, 2012 6:09 PM

East Hampton Town is on solid financial footing, according to an audit of the municipality’s books last year. The report marks another step toward recovery from a lingering era of financial missteps that plunged the town into a nearly $30 million deficit.

David Tellier, a partner at the independent auditing firm Nawrocki Smith LLP, delivered the good news in a brief presentation and outline of the 60-page audit booklet at a Town Board work session on Tuesday. Officials said it was the first time they could recall that the annual audit was delivered so early in the year.

“Definitely a very sound financial position to be looking at and to be talking about,” Mr. Tellier said at the beginning of his presentation.

The town had “no material weaknesses or serious deficiencies” in its internal financial functions, he said. That’s compared to years past, when the prior Town Board administration borrowed millions of dollars from dedicated accounts to make up for shortfalls in daily operating expenses. Councilman Dominick Stanzione asked if the proper controls were put in place to ensure financial errors like ones made in the past do not happen again, and Mr. Tellier said that the town had gone ahead and established those controls.

Some highlights include the town ending the year with a Total Governmental Funds surplus of $13.1 million.

Also, the town maintained a $6.8 million total fund balance in its General Fund, which represents about 26.2 percent of the town’s total operating fund expenditures. East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson noted that the town is only required to a have a 20 percent minimum of the town’s operating expenses allocated in fund balance.

Mr. Tellier commended town officials on sticking to the 2011 budget. He said it was “well put together, well adhered to throughout the year.”

Within the General Fund, total revenues came in higher than anticipated— about $8.5 million more, or 31.1 percent higher than budgeted— due to various bond issuances. On the flip side, total expenses came in lower than anticipated, by about 3.4 percent, or $909,408 due to fewer expenses in general government support and debt service.

Revenues for the town’s governmental activities decreased by 13.4 percent, or about $13 million, while expenses increased by 5.6 percent, or $3.9 million. The total cost of governmental activities was $74.2 million. Those activities fall into the categories of governmental support, public safety, health, transportation, economic assistance and opportunity, culture and recreation, home and community services and interest on debt.

“The majority of the decrease in revenue is due to a decrease in property taxes and the 2-percent transfer tax revenue,” states the report. “The decrease in property tax revenue was budgeted and planned.”

Many of the town’s major funds pulled out of a deficit last year, said Mr. Tellier. The lone exception is the Sewer Districts Fund, which governs expenses at the scavenger waste plant. That fund ended the year at a deficit of $117,643.

Overall, the town’s total net position—the sum of its assets and liabilities—increased from the previous year, from $210.5 million to $220.2 million, according to the report.

Mr. Wilkinson said the results of the audit were “superlative” and noted it was completed in a tight time frame.

“I think it shows, again, what financial discipline can do for the Town of East Hampton,” he said.

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Well, no surprise, republicans are in!
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Aug 21, 12 6:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
Great job Supervisor Wilkinson. keep it up!!!!!!!!!

Please don't let this new town board undoyour great work with their bad decisions on the waste plant and appetite for spending. Stick to your plan that has worked so well and do not be side tracked by these new town board spendthrifts and the bunch of financial wannabes on the budget committee who would lead the town back to where it was in 2008 and 2009.

Thank you!!!!!!
By Yesouthh (21), water mill on Aug 21, 12 7:38 PM
Congratulations to the Republican members of the board. When they work together miracles happen and the taxpayers are the beneficiaries. . But, when they don't work as a team we seen what happens. While this audit report is fantastic, what lies ahead with the black hole that is now the Scav. Waste, will drag the Town back to the days of busted budgets. When politicians do the bidding of particular special interest donors, and pretty much damn the rest of the EH residents, what results is a ...more
By Carole Campolo (46), East Hampton on Aug 21, 12 11:53 PM
Great job by the current administration to turn around the town finances after the mess they were in!
By Rich Morey (378), Brooklyn on Aug 22, 12 10:31 AM
Good job by Wilkinson. He has done everything he was elected to do and more. Like Ms. Campolo says above we must be vigilant to not allow political interests to get in the way of moving forward from this position so firmly established by Mr. Wilkinson's and Ms. Quigley's willingness to make difficult decision in the face of bogus political attacks (i.e. Z. Cohen's, Frankl's, Kloppman's, etc., false claims and "analysis" totally dismissed by the State Comptroller, independent auditors and the Suffolk ...more
By hohum123 (91), springs on Aug 26, 12 12:29 PM