Riverhead Town adequately assessed “the impact of the pandemic on financial operations while developing estimates for significant revenues and expenditures in the 2021 adopted budget,” according to an audit released Friday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office.
It’s the first state audit of the town since March 2013.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had various levels of impact on the financial operations of local governments across New York State,” the audit, written by deputy comptroller Elliott Auerbach, stated. “Some local governments have seen little to no impact on their financial operations, while others have seen more significant impacts due to reductions and/or increases to their revenues and/or expenditures. This has led to some local governments having to reduce or eliminate some services and temporarily or permanently reduce staff positions.”
As for Riverhead, the audit states: “Our review found that officials adequately assessed the impact of the pandemic on financial operations while developing estimates for significant revenues and expenditures in the 2021 adopted budget.
“However, in consideration of the continually new and evolving impacts caused by the pandemic, Town officials should carefully monitor their budget to actual revenues and expenditures and make amendments to the budget as needed throughout the year.”
The Town Board’s 2021 adopted budget cut $801,200 from its 2020 adopted budget.
“We made some tough choices, but we succeeded in addressing shortfalls and reducing operating costs while maintaining our current level of staffing,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said in a release about the audit. “Most importantly, we did it without eliminating services to our residents.”
Riverhead Town was one of 20 municipalities Mr. DiNapoli’s office audited to examine the adequacy of their 2021 budgets and their responses to the pandemic.