Lou Bucci, chairman of Durham Township’s auditors, had bad news for the supervisors at their May meeting.
He said, “I’m not very happy to give this report,” and told them he and fellow auditor Diane Costello were unable to complete the customary annual audit of the township’s books. He recommended the board hire a certified public accountant familiar with the work of municipalities to straighten out what he called “this mess.”
Bucci said, “The township has to follow guidelines mandated by the state,” and that had not been done. He said payroll errors, missing receipts and other discrepancies made it “impossible” for the auditors to settle the accounts. Bucci said he was also concerned the escrow accounts had not been updated as required.
Until this point, the auditors have consistently offered praise for the quality of work presented to them annually for audit.
The auditors, Bucci said, are not permitted to go in to the accounting software program used by the township, but an independent CPA can do that in order to figure out and settle the accounts.
Supervisor Richard Johnson, who also serves as treasurer of the board of supervisors, said, “We need to get a third party in and it’s going to cost the township some money. We need someone familiar with QuickBooks.”
Johnson is ultimately responsible for overseeing accounting procedures although the day-to-day details are handled by Kate Budlong, part-time bookkeeper, under the supervision of Dani McClanahan, township administrator.
After the meeting, McClanahan said “Municipal accounting can be a little more intricate when it comes to record-keeping. This report identifies a learning curve and a training opportunity for an employee new to government accounting.”
McClanahan has worked for the township since February 2017 and Budlong was hired in January 2018.
In other business, the supervisors decided to reject two bids for repair work on a 50-yard stretch of Dogwood Lane washed out by torrential rains last August. The township road crew has made temporary repairs and ordered a new culvert but a permanent fix is needed. The bids came in at $149,072 and $134,442, but Peter Cox, roadmaster, said he decided after receiving the bids he and his crew could save money by doing some of the work themselves and bidding out only those portions they aren’t equipped to do.
The township office will be closed May 27 in observance of Memorial Day.