Hudson’s 2014 financial statement reflects auditors’ concerns
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
District 1 Councillor Ron Goldenberg (left) said the 2014 financial statement revealed the town has not yet solved its financial problems but that the situation is improving.
The Town of Hudson received its 2014 audited financial statement April 22, 2016, from the accounting firm Goudreau Poirier without an accompanying letter of opinion due to its findings of serious deficiencies and allegations of fraud.
Extracts from the long-awaited and promised audit were presented at the regular council meeting held Monday, May 2, by Treasurer and Director of Finance Serge Raymond. Councillor Ron Goldenberg summed up Raymond’s presentation.
“What you might have missed was the surplus for the year of $770,000,” Goldenberg said, noting it was due to a reduction in operating expenses. The surplus was then used to reduce the 2013 deficit of $1,754,939. “We haven’t solved all of our problems by a long shot but we are headed in the right direction,” said Goldenberg. As of December 2014, the deficit was $1,059,822 compared to $1,754.939 in 2013.
The auditors themselves explained the lack of a letter of opinion in the written introduction to the audit. They said during the audit procedure they found “serious deficiencies in internal control” coupled with the fact that, “allegations of embezzlement have been brought to our knowledge and judgment to this effect was made.” The issue of what was happening with the balance sheet was raised during question period.
“Because of the allegations and judgment of fraud, they (auditors) will not express an opinion for the next two or three years,” responded Goldenberg. “They were not necessarily comfortable with the veracity of the numbers from 2013. It has nothing to do with the current operations,” he added.
When the question was raised as to why the audit was not presented in its entirety, Raymond said the parts not included pertained to the transportation contribution to the Conseil Intermunicipal de Transport (CIT) de la Presqu’Île. According to Raymond, the complete audit would be available on the town website after the meeting.
Pro-Mayor Barbara Robinson announced a summit meeting concerning the town’s strategic plan Thursday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre. “The strategic plan or vision is for the residents of the community and was developed from their input,” said Robinson as she encouraged people to attend.
In other business, a call for tenders was issued for an engineering study of the Bradbury well where production has diminished by half. The result of the deficiency is a town-wide ban on watering, that includes automated watering systems, is now in force for an undetermined period of time. Details are available on the town website.
The Town of Hudson is planning to municipalize all of the private roads in its territory. This will give the municipality legal control of the maintenance of all roads and the ability to upgrade them when necessary. The project began with a call for tenders for notary services to prepare the necessary legal documents for the transfer of private roads to the municipality. “Is it going to be expropriation, or a change of ownership?” asked resident Daren Legault. Goldenberg responded that it would be by negotiation. Legault said there could be resistance in certain areas where road widths vary and property owners have become used to the situation. Goldenberg agreed that there would be difficulties. “It’s been ignored for a long time and it’s a situation that needs to be corrected,” he noted.
Le Pont/Bridging, the Hudson food bank, is moving to a new location in the basement of the new MediCentre at 465 Main Road. The move was precipitated by the sale of its previous home in the building that formerly housed the MediCentre at 98 Cameron. Council approved the allocation of funds to assist in the move with assistance from the Public Works Department.