Northborough town auditor shares 2017 audit results with selectmen

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By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer

Northborough – Northborough’s Town Auditor Bill Fraher appeared before the Board of Selectmen at its Jan. 8 meeting and shared the news that the results of the fiscal year (FY) 2017 audit were positive and no audit adjustments on the general ledger were required. Further, there were no material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, or reportable conditions noted on compliance with laws and regulations – all standard audit measures.

The biggest change in 2017 was related to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Summary of Statement No. 74 relevant to Post Employment Benefit Plans Other Than Pension Plans (OPEB).

“GASB continues to evaluate these liabilities and continues to issue new statements which changes things,” Fraher said. At the end of 2017 the OPEB Trust Fund had $1,734,723 with a $27,829,489 liability.

This year GASB will affect the trust fund that funds OPEB and is derived from annual contributions, but next year it will affect the liability itself. Northborough is in the same situation as most every community in the commonwealth. It’s a moving target which efforts are being made to refine. There are a lot of assumptions regarding the liabilities and the rates of return on the funds that GASB is trying to address.

Overall, Northborough is in good shape and Fraher credited the administration for its management. The general fund is the largest metric and from a bond-rating perspective, they like to see consistent growth which is manageable. Northborough is in the 3- to 5-percent growth range which is a good place to be, according to Fraher. It’s consistent and reliable.

Revenues, expenditures and stabilization were also reviewed and again, the percent of change from year to year is consistent. These fall in the 8.5-percent range which is where the budget should be.

“This is a great report, so thank you,” remarked Selectman Jeff Amberson.

“The financial team always makes us look good,” added Selectman William Pantazis.