Cohasset: Town meeting votes to fill huge water budget deficit

Cohasset held a special town meeting Monday night and voted to appropriate funds to fill a huge deficit in the town’s water enterprise fund of $266,000. The money was taken from the stabilization fund to shore up a massive fiscal 2010 water budget deficit.

Cohasset interim town manager Steve Lombard, referring to a recent financing audit, said the deficit is the result of poor record keeping and accounting practices.

Lombard said, “The water enterprise fund ended in 2010 with a revenue deficit of $84,000. There were contract operations in 2010 that should have been paid then, but was instead paid in 2011. That shouldn’t have been done. It’s basic municipal finance.”

Lombard said there are also other financial issues that are a direct result of poor accounting.

“The audit report shows that on several occasions, bills that were paid were charged against a bond. Only capital items can be charged against a bond. Other bond items were applied to the capital expenditures. These are incorrect accounting processes, resulting in the bottom line of $265,967.65,” said Lombard.

Advisory committee chair Sam Wakeman said the audit shows problems with financial reporting and record keeping across all management including the board of selectmen, advisory committee, previous town manager and finance director and sewer and water commissioners.

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About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.