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Selectmen tackle overexpenditures

WINSTED — The Board of Selectmen, along with Town Manager Dale Martin, discussed ways of curbing overexpenditures in town departments at the first selectmen’s meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 3.The discussion was a response to findings in the recently released town audit for 2009-10.The audit itself was compiled by BlumShapiro of West Hartford, and its completion was delayed due to issues with Board of Education bookkeeping.The audit report showed that 14 departmental line items went over budget for the fiscal 2009-10 year.The departments included: principal retirement, capital outlay, accounting, insurance, street lighting, school crossing guards, building department, the town clerk’s office and the town assessor.Overall, the town overexpended its budget in the departments by $310,042.The audit report noted that the overexpenditures were funded by greater than anticipated revenues and an available fund balance.However, the audit report notes that the town is not in compliance with its own charter due to the overexpenditures.Section 905 in the charter states that “no individual, office, department, board, commission or agency shall expend or contract which by its terms involves the expenditures of money, for any purpose, in excess of the amounts appropriated therefore.” In response to the audit findings, Town Manager Martin said that, starting this month, department supervisors will be requested to fill out monthly expenditure reports in order to monitor spending.“This will take closer monitoring by myself, the department of finance and the supervisors of the departments,” Martin said.Selectman George Closson recommended town departments utilize a software system to monitor expenditures.“A software program could be utilized that would prevent purchase orders that would exceed the line item balance available to the department, as opposed to department supervisors using handwritten records,” Closson said. Martin said that the town started work on transitioning each department to a software guidance system last year, but had to halt the transition due to union issues.“It should be somewhat simple to monitor the expenditures, whether it is by computer or not,” Martin said.

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