Riverhead Town 2010 audit due at the end of the month

The last of the three unfinished audits Riverhead Town expects to complete this year should be ready by the end of this month and presented to the Town Board on Dec. 1, according to Supervisor Sean Walter.

And once the town is updated on all its past audits, Mr. Walter says he wants to invite the state comptroller’s office in to do what he termed “a friendly audit” of the town.
Riverhead entered 2011 with audits that were incomplete — and therefore not submitted to the state — for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The Town Board hired the auditing firm of Albrecht, Viggiano, Zubreck & Company at the start of the year with the goal of finishing all three outstanding audits this year.

The 2008 audit was finished in March and the 2009 report was completed in June; only the 2010 audit remains.

“They’re just putting the last-minute touches on it,” Mr. Walter said.

The “friendly audit,” as he calls it, would be a request by the town for the state to audit its books. Normally, the state audits towns every three years, whether the towns invite them to  or not.

The town had been unable to issue bonds because of the unfinished audits, though it’s now caught up enough to begin doing so. Officials met this week with Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, the two major credit rating agencies, Mr. Walter said, adding that the Moody’s rep said the town has too much debt for a town of its size, particular for land purchases using funds borrowed against anticipated Community Preservation Fund revenue.

And both agencies were critical of the town’s use of $2.6 million in surplus funds to offset taxes, Mr. Walter said.

The supervisor said he hopes the 2011 audit will be complete by August 2012, before he begins preparing the 2013 budget.

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