Wilton receives letter of deficiencies

WILTON – The Select Board received a letter from town auditors Roberts & Greene, of Concord, listing a variety of problems they found in the town’s books.

The letter is apparently the latest, but, according to Selectman Kermit Williams, the first, the board has seen in at least the past five years, since he has been a member of the board.

“They were always kept in the office,” he said.

The letter, dated Dec. 15, is addressed to the board. According to Town Manager Paul Branscombe, “it was found with other documents that had not been dealt with” by the previous administration.

The letter concerns the audit of the 2016 books and notes several problems with the general ledger, the way various accounts are recorded, and lists ways in which the system of “internal controls,” how various accounts are recorded, could be improved. The remarks were a prelude to the auditing of the 2017 books which was done this spring.

Apparently, no changes were made.

Branscombe said the problems were due to “inexperience” on the part of the previous staff, and their being “overwhelmed.”

How to deal with the “deficiencies” cited in the letter prompted a further discussion of changing the town’s accounting system from Quick Books to Business Management Systems as discussed at previous meetings.

Williams said he did not favor changing systems until “we fix everything in the management letter, and some things that aren’t.”

Selectman Matt Fish said he had been told by the state Department of Revenue Administration “that Quick Books is not suitable for municipal government.”

Water Commissioner Frank Edelblut, who is an accountant, said, “(Quick Books) is more than adequate for the town.” He noted the letter pointed out “some serious deficiencies that need to be evaluated. As a Water Commissioner, I’ve had a lot of frustrations with getting information and they were dealing with those, but why switch? Quick Books is recognized world-wide with good internal controls if used correctly. Historical information could be lost in a change.”

Branscombe said Finance Officer Deborah Harling was working with Town Treasurer Bill Chalmers to get “everything sorted out” and they were making good progress.

Chalmers said he had no problem with switching systems: “Just not now.”

Administrative Assistance Janice Pack defended BSMI, a system she used in other towns, saying it was easy to use.

Chairman Kellie-Sue Boissonnault moved that the board continue to “move forward with BSMI” as planned and to pay for work already done by the company.

Williams said a new contract was needed since the original concerned a different version of the system, and insisted the “problems should be fixed first,” but Matt Fish sided with Boissonnault.

In other business on Monday,the board met with representatives of Habitat for Humanity and agreed to move forward with transferring a town-owned lot on Pleasant Street for the project. Public hearings will be held as soon as possible with the Planning Board and Conservation Commission involved as required by law.

The former bowling alley under the Main Street sidewalk will be further studied and all of the other basements along Main Street examined before a decision is made.