$530,000 school surplus to cut city tax rate
By Josh O’Gorman
STAFF WRITER | April 10,2013
Rutland City homeowners will see their tax rates rise less than previously reported after an audit of the school district showed a half-million-dollar surplus.
During Tuesday night’s meeting of the Rutland City School Board, chief financial officer Peter Amons discussed the results of two audits, both conducted by certified public accountants O’Brien Shortle Reynolds & Sabotka, PC, of Rutland, which gave the school finances a clean bill of health.
The language was convoluted, but stated the fiscal year ending June 12, 2012 “ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”
While that might sound like a less-than-enthusiastic approval of the school district’s finances, Amons noted the absence of language indicating financial irregularities is the sign of a clean audit.
“This is the place in the report where they would indicate any problems,” he told the board.
The audit shows the district has a surplus of $530,000, which by law must be added to the revenue portion of the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2013-14.
On Town Meeting Day, voters approved a school budget of $47.3 million, which would have raised the residential tax rate from $1.40 to $1.48. With the additional revenue from the surplus after the audit, the residential tax rate will be $1.453.
For a home appraised at $150,000, the tax bill will be about $40 lower than it would have been prior to the audit.
The district also underwent a second audit, which is required for any entity receiving more than $500,000 in federal aid. That audit also came back with a clean bill of financial health, with two qualifications.
First, according to the audit, the district should make employee time sheets more detailed. Second, the district should spend any grant money it gets within 15 months of receiving it.
Board member Fagan noted the district’s liabilities are decreasing, from $19.2 million to $17.2 million.
Board clerk Richard Courcelle noted the district’s liability to the City Pension Fund has decreased by $150,224, to $7,893,034.
“It’s been hard work,” he said. “The Pension Board had to make some hard decisions in terms of having employees make a greater contribution to the fund, and I think it’s an important part of this audit.”