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Independent auditor evaluates Hamburg

HAMBURG — The town of Hamburg’s audited financial statements for the year ending Dec. 31 have been released. The audit was completed by the town’s independent auditor, Amato Fox and Company PC.

The auditor announced that it did not identify any “material weaknesses or significant deficiencies” in the town’s internal controls over financial reporting. In the report, the auditor said, “We consider there to be no deficiencies in the town of Hamburg’s internal control.” There were no areas outlined for improvement in the auditor’s letter.

According to the town’s outside accountant, Wayne Drescher of Drescher & Malecki, “Our firm does work for numerous municipalities and school districts across Western New York. Hamburg has undertaken so many initiatives to reduce costs and better serve its residents; this is the way a town is supposed to be managed. From a fiscal standpoint, the independent auditors have confirmed that the town is in excellent financial shape.

Town Supervisor Steven Walters said, “Since day one, it has been the goal of my administration to run a tight fiscal ship. It is extremely satisfying that the direction and hard work of everyone involved in running this town has validated.”

The town’s primary stated objective is to maintain a prudent level of financial resources, to protect against reducing service levels or raising taxes and fees, due to temporary revenue shortfalls or unpredicted, one-time expenditures.

The total real property taxes in 2013 were more than $1,000,000 less than they were in 2007 and the combined tax rate for the general and highway funds has increased at an average rate of less than 1 percent. This is lower than the cost of living increase, during that same period.

The town’s current spending level is less than it was in 2006. Spending this year is less than $42 million, while 2006 saw spending at more than that amount.

According to town representatives, Hamburg’s fiscal outlook and fund balances remain at “very healthy and stable positions.” The town has unrestricted fund balances in these funds, totaling approximately three months of the annual operating expenditures.

This amount exceeds the Government Finance Officers Association’s recommendation that governments keep an unrestricted fund balance of no less than two months of annual expenditures.

Hamburg was given a Moody’s bond rating of Aa2, which specified that the town’s obligations are “high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.” This bond rating translated into a net interest rate of less than half of 1 percent of the town’s most recently issued debt.

“The ultimate beneficiary of our hard work and innovative approaches are the taxpayers of this town,” Walters said. “We will continue this dedicated and proven approach of providing the most cost effective services to our residents.”

For more information, call Walters at 649-6111 ext. 2380.

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