Council approves 2022 audit

Terry RogersGovernment, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

The City of Milford approved the 2022 Audit after several delays

After several delays, many due to a short-staffed finance office and technology challenges, Milford City Council approved the 2022 Audit Report submitted by Zelenkofske Axelrod (ZA). The city was found to be in good financial shape with no issues in their financial reporting.

“I’d like to thank Mark and all his help as well as Lou and his team as we have worked through the 2022 audit,” Kimberly Stank, CPA, CGMA, with ZA said. “We met with the audit committee previously tonight and they have a lot of the details, so we’ll just keep it brief. You have two things that were presented to you one was our letter to you. In this letter, it explains that you are the governance of the city. And so it goes through various aspects of things or were required to communicate to you and you can feel free to go through that. And we have the financial statements, and I will turn it over to Kayla just to do a quick high level overview.”

Kayla Demar, CPA, provided a quick overview of the city’s financial statements.

“So overall, we issued an unmodified opinion on your financial statements. That’s the highest level of opinion you can get a clean opinion with no modifications. If you look across most of your funds, you’ll see there was a positive change in fund balance. And all of your funds are carrying positive unassigned fund balance,” Demar said. “So that’s a healthy indicator of strong financials. In your single audit this year, your major program was the American Rescue Plan. And there were no findings or modifications in that uniform guidance opinion. There was one finding in your financial reporting opinion and that was just due to some timely closing and some adjustments that were required in the audit.”

Over the past year, Lou Vitola, Finance Director, has been open with council about delays in completing the 2022 audit. Repeatedly, Vitola stated that the finance office had been stretched incredibly thin and onboarding with a third party contractor in that office, while good, was “not great,” according to Vitola.

“There were some operating challenges that didn’t lend themselves to having it available,” Vitola told council in December. “The downer is that we are here right now. The good news is that some of the other things we learned from the process last year paves the way for a significantly stronger product.”

Vitola credited the auditors with helping him create better processes so that he could provide them with more details which they need to audit government financials. According to Vitola, a government audit is much different than the audit of a company or individual.

“We have billing operations that operate miscellaneous receivables that are generated in the internal service fund, the public works department when developments have been built, and we have to grant access to all these things,” Vitola said. “We also have little pockets the auditors are looking at that validate local city life. WE looked at the pension multiple times because they compensated absences more than once, and many times, there was a philosophical disagreement between the product of backup.”

Processes have been put in place to have future audits completed in a timelier manner. In most cases, a delayed audit will cause no issues for a city, but it could have an impact on other DEMEC members should they need to apply for financing. The city is required under their agreement with DEMEC to provide an annual audit within six months of the end of the year. City Manager Mark Whitfield indicated in December that DEMEC was a bit concerned about Milford not having a current audit, but that it was not the only municipality who was behind in submitting those documents.

“I’m glad it is done,” Councilman Dan Marabello said when Demar asked if there were any questions. “I am looking forward to seeing 2023’s.”

Council approved the 2022 audit with a vote of seven to zero as Councilwoman Lori Connor was not in attendance.


Share this Post