$47 million might sound like a lot of debt, but it actually indicates that Mahwah is good financial health, according to an independent auditor who conducted a review of the township’s revenues, expenditures, and debts.
Auditor Lou Mai gave a report on his audit, which looked at the financial status of the township during 2012, to the township council last Thursday night.
“I’m happy to say I have no recommendations,” on how Mahwah could improve its financial position, he told the council.
In an interview with Patch, Mai added that he feels Mahwah, “is in a good place,” financially.
As of the end of 2012, Mahwah had accumulated $47.4million in debt, mostly in money borrowed in the form of bonds and notes, or authorized borrowing. Mai told the council that it’s significant that Mahwah’s debt is about $4 million less than it was two years ago.
“That’s commendable, especially during a time when other towns are increasing their debts,” he said. Mai said he could not provide direct comparisons to other towns.
And the amount of debt overall, Mai said, is relatively low.
The maximum amount the township would legally be allowed to borrow, he said, is over $226 million.
Mai also commended township officials for getting through two major storms – Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy – without needing any emergency borrowing or spending, having a recently-updated Master Plan, and recently adopting a “best-practices” plan for handling surplus funds.
Mai told Patch the audit is reflective of “good management, a stable government, and a long-range plan.”
Mai said there were no big recommendations he could make when council members asked what could be done to improve Mahwah’s finances or operation. Councilman John Roth asked about combining water and sewer accounting. Mai said it might lead to some savings, but it might be inconvenient, since not everyone in the township receives both services. A study would need to be done to determine whether or not the township should do it, he said.
Township officials expressed satisfaction at the positive review.
The audit, “is designed to be a report card on where we are, and we are in a very good place,” Mayor Bill Laforet said. “The financial condition of the community is a reflection of a lot of work, and a team sport. The council, administration, all of the town departments managing their budgets, all played a role in this.”
See the entire audit here.