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City appoints auditing firm, gets update on audit

Terry RogersGovernment, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

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City finance director Lou Vitola provided information on the 2022 audit

At a recent meeting, Milford City Council agreed to a Request for Proposal from Zelenkofske Axelrod (ZA) accounting services. This is the firm that has been providing audits to the city for the past year. City Finance Director, Lou Vitola, explained to council that remaining with the same audit company would help streamline the process in the future.

“The primary reasons were that we’re going to be in a new system for fiscal year 24. And by then ZA will have been through their first three of the city’s audits and probably be in the best position to meet the city’s needs and our goals. Price is an important consideration but it’s not the number one consideration,” Vitola said.

In previous meetings, Vitola has expressed that when a new auditor is brought in, the city must spend time explaining their processes, accounts and other details which can lead to delay. Because ZA was a new auditor, the need for these explanations was partially the reason for a delay in completing the 2022 audit. However, Vitola stated that it appeared that audit was nearing completion.

“We’re at a point where the auditors are in possession of the financial statements and all the files, footnotes, management discussion and analysis and they are reviewing the final adjustments that we made in response to the latest volley from them to us,” Vitola said. “ Att the last Council meeting, I reported this caused a delay. They had more questions. So, we responded to those questions. We didn’t just respond with some answers. We had to respond with some proposed adjusting entries and had some explanations of certain transactions.”

Vitola continued that the questions were for information only.

“There was no reason for the questions other than wanting to understand more about the nature of the transactions that happened because they were between certain funding groups within the city. Things like interfund loan activity related to property. So, we cleared that up for them. We gave them some entries and now it’s in their hands,” Vitola said. “They had one volley back to us earlier in the month and we responded to that. And the latest question from them came to me today and I look forward to responding to that no later than tomorrow morning. I told them I think we’re getting close to the point that they will actually commit to a date that that final draft will be available for review and approval. But so far, that March 7 version that that was communicated earlier, is the prevailing version and there are a handful of adjusting entries to that version that you’ll see shortly.”

Councilman Jason James stated that he spoke to the lead auditor as well and confirmed what Vitola said. He found that the auditors found nothing in the way of fraud and that the delays were mainly questions regarding bookkeeping procedures.

“Part of doing the work as the auditor is fraud inquiry. I did speak to the lead auditor and speaking to the lead auditor we did discuss some of the processes and delays in the audit,” Councilman James said. “I just want to say information that the director did provide and that is the same independent response I got from the lead auditor also.”

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