Audit gives Greenport Village a thumbs up

Greenport Village has received high marks from its financial auditors, with a representative of the Albany company telling officials Monday that the village earned “an unqualified clean opinion.”

“The village had an outstanding year, a remarkable year,” Bill Freitag of Bollam, Sheedy, Torani & Co. LLP told Village Board members at their meeting Monday night.

He added that adjustments made by his firm resulted in a $520,000 increase in the village’s fund balance.

The report did show some deficiencies not considered to be “material weaknesses,” a term used to describe weak internal controls that could lead to an inaccurate financial status report. That resulted in the $520,000 difference in the fund balance, the auditors said.

The auditors added that the deficiencies identified related to the previous treasurer’s lack of “sufficient expertise or resources to perform/prepare appropriate financial reporting.”

That treasurer, Susan Pisano, was replaced by Charlene Kagel last spring. Ms. Pisano has previously said she told Village Board members she needed training, but they failed to provide it.

The auditors said Ms. Kagel, a certified public accountant who was appointed last June and has 23 years’ experience, is implementing correct accounting procedures that should result in timely reconciliations of cash, accounts receivable and accounts payable on a monthly basis.

The village’s debt has increased from $9.3 million to $9.8 million, but that’s attributable to $1.5 million of new bonding for the wastewater treatment plant project, Mr. Freitag said.

Only board critic and trustee candidate Bill Swiskey expressed dissatisfaction with the report, accusing the auditors and village officials of using “smoke and mirrors” to misrepresent the village’s financial standing.

After Mr. Swiskey voiced his complaints, Mike Acebo, president of the Greenport Business Improvement District, said he was proud of the board for handling finances so responsibly.

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