Saratoga Town Council talks about financial report, engages with new auditor
August 28, 2019
While one of the most discussed topics in recent meetings of the Saratoga Town Council has been healthcare, finances have become a close second as concerns have been raised about the most recent audit and the current budget. During the Aug. 20 meeting, the council spoke with Sammy Flohr, town treasurer, about progress with the Town of Saratoga’s bookkeeping program and approved a new auditing company.
On The Books
Over the past month, Flohr, who has been with the Town of Saratoga for five years, has been working with local Certified Public Accountant Greg Johnson.
It was revealed that Johnson had been working with Flohr during the July 2 meeting of the Saratoga Town Council when Councilmember Jon Nelson had asked about contracting Johnson without full council approval. Mayor John Zeiger told Nelson that, due to the amount being under $500 for Johnson’s services, it was not required to have full council approval.
Flohr told Councilmember Judy Welton, who serves as the council representative to Town Hall, that he was appreciative of the time Johnson took to speak with him, adding that it was beneficial to ask him questions. The town treasurer added that not only was Johnson familiar with Caselle, but he had worked for Anton Collins Mitchell (ACM), the auditing company that the Town of Saratoga had worked with for several years.
Along with working with Johnson, Flohr has been in contact with Caselle, the government accounting program used by the Town of Saratoga.
During the Aug. 20 meeting, Nelson asked about the most recent financial report, which he had received shortly before the meeting.
“There’s a lot of issues with it that Sammy’s working with Casell, mainly because the transfer over of a lot of new line items didn’t come in right. I noticed it and in some stuff that Councilwoman Welton gave me,” said Saratoga Town Clerk Suzie Cox. “There’s a lot of figures that have been doubled or tripled.”
“So, like, the community garden having a budget of $830,000 is probably one of those?” asked Nelson.
Zeiger asked what Caselle was saying in regards to the issues with the financial report and budget for 2019/2020. Cox informed the mayor that Flohr had been working with the company that day and would be working with them the following day. Zeiger asked that Flohr send out an email to the council following his conversation with Caselle to keep them informed as to how things were going.
“Obviously, if things are not reflected accurately, it’s hard to see where we’re at,” added Nelson.
When Zeiger appeared to entertain the idea of asking a representative from the government accounting program to be at the next town council meeting, Cox requested that the mayor and council hold off until the issue was taken care of, to which Zeiger agreed.
In recent months, Nelson had expressed concerns about the Town of Saratoga remaining with ACM. During the June 4 town council meeting, following Nelson’s suggestion, the council decided not to engage with ACM for the audit of the 2018/2019 fiscal year. It was suggested to engage with McGee, Hearne & Paiz (MHP) out of Cheyenne. At the very next meeting, June 18, the council decided to hold back on engaging MHP following concerns from Councilmember Steve Wilcoxson.
Following a request for bids for municipal audit services, the Town of Saratoga received only one bid, which was neither from ACM or MHP.
“In your packet was a bid that was received from Carver, Florek & James, CPA. It was the only bid that was received. Also in your packet is an email from ACM explaining that they had already scheduled too many to take another audit, so the only avenue we have would be the one from Carver, Florek & James,” Cox explained to the council.
The Utah-based company offered a bid of $26,750 for the initial audit. The bid also included cost for the audits of the next four fiscal years, starting with 2019/2020 at $27,000 and increasing by $250 each year. Nelson publicly read clients of Carver, Florek & James, including the City of Buffalo, the Town of Meeteetse and Johnson County School District.
“I did have a short email from Dennis and he just said that they were a good firm and they would be calling them and working with them, probably, if it was okay for them to give out the information,” said Cox.
The town council unanimously agreed to engage with Carver, Florek & James and unanimously approved ACM to share information with the new auditing company.
The next meeting of the Saratoga Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at Saratoga Town Hall.