Windsor receives positive audit report

Published 8:42 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

The presentation of the fiscal year 2023 audit and financial report for the town of Windsor featured praise for Town Treasurer Cheryl McClanahan’s preparation and also highlighted the positive of the audit having no findings to report.

Aaron Hawkins, a member of Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates, made the presentation of the audit and financial report to the Windsor Town Council on Dec. 12, noting that auditing the town has been a “very efficient process” the past couple years thanks to McClanahan and town staff’s readiness and responsiveness.

“I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “It’s the reason that things have been very timely, standing here before you this year and presenting this audit.”

He said that as he usually does in his presentations, he flagged some pages from the audit and financial report that contained things he thought were important to go over and to make council members aware of.

He started with the auditor’s report.

“Within that report contains our opinion on the audit and these financial statements, which is an unmodified opinion, which means that based on all the testing that we did, all the financials that follow this are materially correct and can be relied upon,” he said.

Next he highlighted a balance sheet featuring governmental funds.

“For your General Fund … you have an ending fund balance of $2,726,850,” he said. “Of that, about $2.6 (million) of that is unassigned, which means it’s for use at the town’s discretion.

“One thing I will point out in your General Fund is you still have about $1.6 million in unearned revenue, and that is for your (American Rescue Plan Act) funds that the town still has to utilize,” he said.

He estimated that this past year, the town utilized around $300,000 of its ARPA funds.

“To make a single audit necessary, you would have to expend $750,000,” he said. “So in FY24, if you cross that threshold of the year of having done $750,000, we’ll have to do a single audit and do additional testing for federal compliance on those funds, but to this point, you all haven’t reached that threshold yet.”

A couple pages later in the report, Hawkins drew attention to part of a statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in fund balances for governmental funds, highlighting the beginning and ending balances for the General Fund.

“Beginning fund balance, you were right around $2.2 million, about an increase of $500,000 up to about $2.7 million in fund balance,” he said.

Next Hawkins mentioned collections, which were listed toward the end of the report.

“This is where you can see how past collections are — pretty in line with the past couple years,” he said. “Current year tax collections are right around 92%, total levies collected around almost 94%. Of what’s been assessed and levied, collected about almost 94% of that.”

Lastly, Hawkins addressed the report on internal control testing and compliance work that was required.

“Obviously, I was mentioning earlier you aren’t up to the level of any federal compliance work, but we do have state compliance testing that we have to do, as well as internal control testing, and if we had findings to report based on that, this is where we would do that, and we did not have any findings to report,” he said. “Additionally, there was no separate management letter necessary this year. 

“Again, I’ve just been very impressed with the town’s preparation for the audit and how things have been going the past couple years,” he added. “I think Ms. Cheryl’s done a very good job and keeping the town in good shape.”

McClanahan shared her reaction to the audit and financial report in a Thursday, Jan. 4, interview, noting that over the years of her career, she has been through many audits.

“I learn from each audit what I may do better for next year,” she stated. “It is a learning process to keep up with changes in the laws and what additional information may be needed for next year’s audit.”

As for what she has identified as the keys to being prepared for an audit, particularly one that yields no findings, she said, “I treat every day as if it was an audit and how it will benefit the town citizens. Each month I analyze and review any transaction and reports.”