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Paradise Town Council finances pass auditor’s muster

November 9th, 2012 Posted in Opinion

By Katie Swain

PARADISE – According to Allred Jackson’s audit of Paradise, the town is doing well financially. At the Town Council meeting Nov. 7, Diana Cannell from Allred Jackson reported the audit.

“It looks like you guys have been very busy improving the town,” Cannell said. “And financially things look really good.”

According to the audit report, Paradise’s net loss for the year was $40,000. Cannell said this figure was just fine and nothing to be worried about.

“This year we’ve done a lot work on our roads,” Mayor Leland Howlett said. “We didn’t do very much on them last year so we’ve kind of saved up all the repairs we needed to do and spent a lot on it this year.”

“You aren’t under budget anywhere, but you are over budget by about $6,000 in your parks and recreation department,” Cannell said. “And that creates a problem because you can’t keep over 75 percent of your next year budget.”

Howlett said the council was trying to save some of that money for possible problems in the future.

“This just reiterates the importance of the budget process every spring,” Howlett said.

One other concern the auditors had was that the council wasn’t segregating financial responsibilities enough between different people. “Essentially, you don’t want the person who handles the cash be the same person who updates the books,” Cannell said. “This just eliminate risks.”

“We need to be better about that,” Councilwoman Margaret Obray said. “You just see so many things these days that I don’t think you can be too careful.”

Howlett said they were making an effort to segregate these responsibilities, but with such a small staff, it is difficult to keep them completely separate. “We don’t have money in the budget to hire a treasurer, so we try to juggle the responsibilities between Bev, our clerk, and the council members,” the mayor said. “We do what makes sense.”

Obray suggested a push for more supervision, especially when handling large amounts of cash.

“We just want to see people checking up on one another,” Cannell said. “If someone thinks, “I could get away with this” then that’s a huge risk.”


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