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Time to construct a truthful budget

Published November 24. 2012 09:02AM

Dear Editor:

I have been involved in a small portion of the financial mess that is ongoing in the Borough of Lansford. I was permitted to update the Sewer Transmission Account and having done so the Borough has collected approximately $48,000 in delinquent Sewer Transmission fees. Still there is much to do in that account and now I am informed that the Sanitation Delinquent Balance is over $100,000.

DCED was requested to come to the Borough and study the Financial situation and I read the article in The Times News that quoted from the DCED report that the Borough "Is current on its bills and does not have a cash flow problem." I have since received a copy of the September 7, 2012 letter from DCED stating that "Mr Domines was informed by the Borough that the 2012 budget appears to be on track and that the Borough should have sufficient cash to timely meet its 2012 expenditure obligations."

My question is how could Mr. Domines make a decision from simply talking with the Borough President and not inspect the Budget Versus Actual Report (that either does not exist or is incorrect)?

The Borough of Lansford operates on a cash basis for expenses. I have recommended, as have previous auditors, that council switch to a accrual basis for expenses. Mr. Domines could not have known at that time how much money was to be expensed for the future and thus could not state that the Borough does not have a cash flow problem. Furthermore if Lansford Borough Council would enter "misappropriated funds" from the Sewer Transmission Account into its financial statement the town would already be bankrupt....Lansford Borough Council has been utilizing proprietary Sewer Transmission Funds to balance the budget for many years. I do not have an exact figure but I assume the misappropriated funds would be in excess of One Half Million, $500,000, dollars. Somehow even the audits for the past several years do not indicate the need to repay these funds. To this I might add that now is 2013 Budget time and it's time to construct a truthful budget and either raise taxes or begin cutting expenses as there is no way council should misappropriate any more funds from any proprietary account.

Now for the last straw. Lansford Borough is probably the only Borough in Carbon County with NO AUDIT for 2011. It seems that the needed information to complete the audit was not available, due to many excuses, until just last month. I looked at the minutes for 2011 and found that none existed for many months. Any audit must include minutes. I read in the Nov. 15th Times News that the audit company hired to conduct the 2011 audit has walked off the job and refuses to come back and complete the audit. The council President is quoted as saying the firm would only say it was "a professional decision." That answer lacks the real reason. A professional audit firm would provide a more detailed reason for their "professional decision." The entire Lansford Borough Council and Lansford taxpayers deserve to know the real reason and in writing not hearsay.

I probably will hear from some Council Persons that I should attend meetings and ask questions. My reply has been and will continue to be "I will not attend any Lansford Council monthly meetings as long as the current conditions of bantering, yelling, micro managing, arguing, bickering, chastising, squabbling, and lack of Financial reporting etc. continues. I will continue to aid the Borough when asked but I can not be omitted from seeking answers to questions.

Bob Silver


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