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East Spencer’s financial reporting system needs to be improved

By Sarah Nagem
snagem@salisburypost.com
EAST SPENCER ó The town’s financial reporting system needs improvements, according to a summary from a financial audit by an accounting firm.
The computer accounting system isn’t capable of producing statements in a generally accepted format to the Local Government Commission, accountant Ty Cox told the town’s Board of Aldermen on Monday.
Cox’s accounting firm, Ty Cox & Co. in Durham, did the town’s 2007 financial audit.
“That’s typical in some smaller towns,” Cox said of the reporting system’s shortfalls. “You just don’t have the resources they have in some larger towns.”
Despite the obstacles, Cox’s firm rendered an “unqualified opinion,” meaning the town’s financial records were accurate for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007.
The 2008 fiscal year has already ended, which means town leaders waited a long time to hear last year’s results.
Cox said the financial reporting system was one cause for the delay. Also, he said, state officials had indicated the town had “potential problems” with its finances.
At the end of the 2007 fiscal year, Cox said, the town’s assets exceeded its liabilities by about $1.1 million.
That year, the town received about $582,000 in property taxes, he said.
Mayor Erma Jefferies said after the meeting that the town has no plans to change its financial reporting system.
“We’re going to stick with what we have, because we’ve never had a problem with it,” she said. “This year’s auditor isn’t having a problem with it.”
Cox reminded town leaders that his company had not yet been paid for its 2007 audit. Jefferies told him the board will discuss it, and she will contact him when he can pick up the money.
After the meeting, Cox declined to comment further about his firm’s findings or the pay arrangement.
In other town matters, Dr. Ada Fisher, who is campaigning for a seat in the N.C. House of Representatives, addressed town leaders about a possible fire station project.
Fisher said she wants the town to update its fire station to create an office, lounge and separate bathrooms for men and women.
She consulted Salisbury architect Bill Burgin and presented a drawing of the project to the board.
The total project would cost about $352,000, Fisher said. That includes two fire truck bays, renovations, site work and fees.
Fisher suggested that if the town could come up with $60,000 for the project, town leaders could get grant writers to apply for funds to cover the rest.
She said she wants the work environment to be as comfortable as possible for firefighters.
“Firemen are my passion, besides chocolate and kids and education,” said Fisher, who has served on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.
A committee of town officials could coordinate the project, she said.
Town leaders did not make any decisions about the project Monday.

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