Bond-rating agencies would view Norwell favorably, but the town should implement some measures to prevent fraud, according to an annual audit of the town’s finances.
Since the town’s total assets “exceeded liabilities” by more than $100 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009, the town is faring well in the economic downturn, said Frank R. Biron, an accountant with Melanson, Heath & Co. The results were presented to the Board of Selectmen on Monday night at Town Hall.
“The town is in a very strong financial position,” said Biron.
Selectman Richard Merritt said he was “pleased” with the results of the audit, saying the list of criticisms, though “not insignificant,” was “very, very short.”
“It vindicates the fact that the town is well run,” Merritt said in an interview.
The audit’s list of suggested improvements included:
- • To better track money flowing in and out of departments, the town should create a townwide policy for how departments handle their receipts.
- • To prevent fraud, the town should implement a formal townwide fraud policy and train all employees in fraud prevention and detection.
- • To prevent identity theft – and comply with new federal requirements -- the town should have programs to detect and respond to patterns and activities that could indicate identify theft.
- • The checking accounts that school principals use for certain student activity funds -- which are not currently subject to independent audit -- should be audited with the rest of the town’s funds.