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Town audit shows good fiscal health

Jeffrey Davoli from AVZ brought good news to the Town Board at the January 23 work session, announcing that the latest audit shows the town in good fiscal health.

“The town is being operated under fiscally responsible means.”

That’s the single sentence summary CPA Jeffrey Davoli gave to the Town Board at last week’s work session, after outlining the audit of accounts for 2017.

The town has low debt, said Mr. Davoli of Hauppauge’s AVZ, the town’s auditing firm, and a good bond rating.

During the budgeting process last fall, some observers thought the town had many millions of dollars in its fund balance. But the auditor explained that most of the money is restricted to spending on specific needs and can’t simply be applied to whatever the Town Board decides it wants to spend.

Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams had explained last fall that what looked like a $2.2 million windfall from the sale of the cell tower at the Recycling Center was largely allocated for specific capital projects, and to pay off the balance of a bond that had been taken to build the Highway/Public Works headquarters.

The full audit report can be viewed at the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall.

A $10,000 New York State grant is forthcoming to pay for security improvements at the Justice Court building. Among the changes will be video surveillance in the courtroom; a protective window where defendants pay fines; metal detectors at the entrance; and other security upgrades.

Ms. Brach-Williams announced the grant and Supervisor Gary Gerth thanked Court Clerk Nancy Kotula for her efforts in helping secure the grant.

Gordon Gooding, chairman of the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board, outlined proposed stewardship plans that could apply to the recently acquired Congdon Shore Front Preserve property, previously owned by the Scudder family.

He said the small site would include a small rack for kayaks along with some benches that would be built by students with materials provided by the committee.

Mr. Gooding also outlined plans for linking the St. Mary’s Nursery property with Sachem’s Woods and outlined parking areas for hikers.

He and board members, assisted by Craig Wood from the Deer & Tick Committee, talked about efforts to post warnings during hunting season so hikers know what areas are being hunted. Mr. Wood, Joe Denny from the Shelter Island Trail Club and Animal Control Officer Beau Payne are working on signs and are also considering chains to alert hikers to avoid certain paths during the hunting season.