2017-12-07 / Front Page

Auditor Says Town Accounts Are Clean

The audit of the Northfield town accounts was presented to the Selectboard last week. Casey Scandore CPA, from the firm of Kittell Branagan & Sargent presented the audit report for the fiscal year 2016-2017. 
She made it clear the audit was an “unmodified” (or “clean”) opinion and no problems had been encountered in the process. 
Ms. Scandore noted the financial statements often were split into two columns: government activities (i.e., municipal operations) and business- type activities (municipal utilities). She also explained the levels of funding restricted to specific departments and those that were not. 
Ms. Scandore then went over the extensive “notes” that explained and provided detailed narratives for the various financial tables. Ms. Scandore felt the utility funds were all healthy. In addition, the General Fund had an increase in revenues mainly due to more timely collection of property taxes as well as increased revenue from the Northfield Ambulance Service. Chair Maxwell thanked Ms. Scandore and her colleagues for working with municipal staff to provide this favorable report. 
Manager Jeff Schulz told the board that the municipality has applied for grant funds to address problems on Dole Hill Road and Barrows Road. Barrows Road is in worse condition with several culverts and ditches needed to resolve serious stormwater concerns. 
He said that he felt somewhat optimistic that the applications would be successful. Chair David Maxwell asked if there’s enough money in the budget to cover the local match amount and Manager Schulz said there would be a twenty percent local match but this includes in-kind services. The plan is to use the grant funds to purchase materials while the Town Highway crew does the actual road work. 
Manager Schulz met with members of the Northfield Promise Community regarding the proposal to use already awarded grant funds to put a new children’s park on Slate Avenue and to purchase new playground equipment for the existing park in Northfield Falls. Both sites were reviewed and found acceptable. The next step is to develop formal plans to be forwarded to the funding agency. 
Manager Schulz said he and Highway Foreman Trent Tucker met with state auditors regarding local responses to VTrans bridge inspection reports. All thirty-three (33) local bridges were reviewed as well as any known problems. 
The only bridge found to have significant problems is Main Street Bridge, which already is on the state’s priority funding list. 
Selectman Ken Johnson asked about Wall Street Bridge. Manager Schulz said the walkway had some problems but overall the bridge is in good condition and structurally sound. He added the Select Board will need to review bridge maintenance funding during the upcoming budget meetings. He doesn’t feel enough money has been set aside for this in recent years. 

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