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Verona officials study hiring an accountant

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By Kate Wilcox
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

Verona Borough is considering hiring an accountant to handle the municipality's finances.

Several members of council are unsatisfied with the way the monthly bills and yearly budget are presented.

Councilwoman Rhoda Gemellas-Worf said that the council does not see a year-to-date account of bills paid each month.

“We're working with taxpayers dollars,” she said. “We need to be accountable for every penny.”

But other council members balked at the cost of accounting.

Jerry Kenna, of Landmark Business Solutions, presented the borough with his plan to organize the finance and print out monthly reports.

He told the borough he would charge $40 an hour for his services. But could not say how many hours a month it would take to put reports together.

In the beginning, Kenna said, it could take quite a few hours each month to sort out the accounts.

“The only problem is: where are we going to get the money?” Councilman Tony Futules said.

Gemellas-Worf said that accurate and more detailed accounting could save the borough money in the long term.

“Ultimately, our goal is accurate reporting,” Kenna said.

He told council he can provide reports every month with year-to-date profit and losses, percentage of borough income from one year to the next, year-to-date versus prior year-to-date expenditures and budgeted expenses versus actual spending for accurate comparison as well as an annual budget for 2014.

“Transparency in government is important,” Kenna said. “The taxpayers have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent.”

Borough Manager Bonnie Conway said that hiring Landmark Business Solutions would help her.

“I vote ‘yes,' ” she said.

Conway would still sign the checks and approve payments, but Landmark would record each bill and generate reports.

Mayor David Ricupero said that itemized monthly expenditures would help him budget for the police department, so that it doesn't run over budget.

“I could see how much the police cars use every month,” he said. “If I'm getting over (budget), they're all walking.”

Council decided to discuss the issue further before making a decision.

Kate Wilcox is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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