Friday, July 14, 2017

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Sullivan gets good financial report card

MONTICELLO – Independent auditors found little to fault in the way Sullivan County officials handled its money in 2016. 

Two representatives from the Cheektowaga firm of Drescher and Malecki LLP presented their findings to the county legislature’s Management and Budget committee on Thursday.

“We do plan on moving forward with an unmodified or a clean opinion on the financial statement,” said accountant Matthew Montalbo.  “That, in our opinion that your books and records fairly represent the financial position of Sullivan County as of December 31, 2016.  That’s the best you’re going to do from an audit standpoint.”

Montalbo noted that real property tax, alone will not keep pace with state-mandated costs.  He said, however, that sales tax had a “pretty favorable year in ‘16”, up about seven percent from 2015. 

He said the casino, scheduled to open next spring, will likely enhance the revenue stream. 

The county benefited in particular from more than $8 million one-shot infusion from a refinancing of a state settlement with big tobacco companies.  Montalbo said the county was “prudent” in how it used that money to offset some debt service and to set some aside for future needs.

County Treasurer Nancy Buck was very pleased with the audit.

“I’m really proud of my staff and the rest of the fiscal officers,” Buck said.

Ken Walter, a resident and member of the Charter Review Commission, was also pleased, and seized the opportunity to present a ‘minority report’.

“This is surely a strong testimonial to our form of government of legislators and county manager,” Walter said.  “There’s no need to have an Executive, another layer of government.”

The Charter Review Commission, which issued its report last month, voted 13 to one to recommend the county transition to an elected county executive.

 


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