A pair of audits by the state Comptroller’s Office were critical of actions taken by the Town of Groton.
One involved in the highway department, while the other evaluated long-term planning.
The first audit was released December 2nd, and looked at whether town officials established long-term capital and financial plans to address the town’s highway department equipment needs.
The audit found that town officials didn’t do enough to establish long-term capital and financial plans.
As result, 17 of the 24 pieces of major highway equipment (71 percent) were at or beyond their optimal usable life; and out of 17 pieces of major highway equipment reviewed, five trucks accounted for $81,250 (76 percent) of total repair costs during the audit period. If equipment is in need of repair on a regular basis, services to taxpayers may not be provided timely and adequately.
That audit recommended that the Town develop long-term capital and financial plans to replace highway assets in a timely manner, consider funding reserves for highway capital equipment needs, and provide the Board with written recommendations as to what highway machinery, tools, implements, and equipment should be purchased.
Town officials agreed with the findings and indicated they plan to initiate corrective action. The audit took place between January 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022.
The second audit examined whether town officials adequately safeguarded and accounted for the highway department’s assets.
Findings from that report, which included a broader timeline than the previous audit, included information that officials failed to maintain up-to-date inventory, perform inventories, or obtain board approval for disposals of assets. There were 16 assets with total costs adding up to $35,701 that could not be located.
Auditors recommended updating the capital asset policy to include procedures for controlling asets costing less than $5,000, conducting periodic inventories, and ensuring the book-keeper for the department has information for procedures and policies on unused assets.
Town officials agreed with the findings and said they would correct.