SANATOGA PA – Audits completed earlier this year of 2011 financial statements for the operations of Lower Pottsgrove Township; its treasurer and tax collector, Jennifer Marsteller; and the Sanatoga and Ringing Hill fire companies indicate all did a good job last year keeping their ledgers in order, auditor Barbara A. Akins, a certified public accountant with Reinhart and Company of Boyertown, has told the Board of Commissioners.
Even the best can get better, though, Akins reminded board members, and in its final reports her company made several recommendations to improve accounting in this and coming years, she said.
Of its general financial health, Akins told commissioners the township was in a “great position” by the end of 2011. Its outstanding short-term debt, she said, amounted to only $177,000; it successfully balanced its budget by more tightly controlling expenses while facing an unexpected decline in revenue; it collected taxes and paid bills in a timely manner; and earlier deficits in its pension funds “are evening out.”
She, and the commissioners in turn, praised Finance Director Michele Christman and bookkeeper Jane Smale for their accuracy despite what the reports described as their “increasing number of transactions and responsibilities during the year.”
The audits’ recommended improvements:
- Allocation of sewer authority expenses. The township pays the wages, payroll taxes and benefits of seven employees from two different funds for their work divided between Lower Pottsgrove’s general business and that of the authority, which is independently operated. The percentage paid from each fund is based on a estimate of the amount of time employees spend on related tasks. Auditors suggested those percentages be re-evaluated.
- Overtime distribution. Three township employees – two of them managers, but not identified by name – incur “substantially more overtime hours and wages” than any others, according to the reports. Auditors suggested the township consider a policy requiring pre-approval of overtime in non-emergency situations by the township manager or police chief.
- Insurance coverage reviews. Auditors found “some insurance coverages were changed” on township insurance policies without its knowledge. They cited one policy’s “money and securities” coverage limit that apparently was arbitrarily dropped to $10,000 from $50,000. Auditors suggested Christman review all policy coverages as they annually renew.
- Appropriate tax monitoring. Auditors also said they were satisfied with the Marsteller’s work. They noted, however, that Pennsylvania law put her and her colleagues in the difficult situation of both receiving and recording collections, duties that in other circumstances would involve two people. If only to “continually exercise due care,” auditors suggested the township routinely monitor the tax collector’s office transactions.
- Sanatoga Fire Company expense recording. Those authorized to use the fire company’s credit card for approved purchases occasionally failed to attach receipts to the monthly card statements to document those purchases in greater detail. Auditors suggested the company institute a policy to ensure receipts were attached in the future.
Although the audits and their findings were finished in February, Akins personally made her report to the board during its June 21 meeting.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ June 21 meeting):
- Township’s 2011 Financial Records Pass Auditors’ Muster
- Commissioners OK Wyndcroft School Expansion Plans
- Lower Pottsgrove To Help Light Fill July 4th Night Sky
- Township’s Monthly Warrant Lets You Follow Your Money
- Lower Pottsgrove Personnel Investigation Not Yet Over