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Council receives positive audit, tax bill updates

Order is being restored to Windsor’s financial operations, as Windsor Treasurer Cheryl McClanahan recently shared positive updates with the Town Council on the town budget audit and personal property tax bills.

“The audit has been finished,” she told council members during the Oct. 12 council meeting. “(Town Manager) William (Saunders) and I have reviewed it. I discussed it with him today. We’ve just got to sign a couple papers.”

She said the auditor will be at the Town Council’s November meeting to present the finalized audit for fiscal year 2020-21.

This represents a dramatic improvement in timing compared to the timetable that existed with the audit of the town’s FY 2019-20 budget.

Aaron Hawkins, with Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates, gave his audit presentation on Windsor’s FY 19-20 budget during the June 8 Town Council meeting earlier this year.

“Obviously the goal is not for me to be here on June 8 of the following year,” he said at the meeting. “I should be here November or December of the year in which the audit’s being done, and the reason that’s not happening is turnover at the town.”

In a June 9 interview, Windsor Mayor Glyn T. Willis noted that the town had turnover at both the town manager and treasurer positions in 2020, and he described the situation this contributed to with regard to the audit.

“(It was) just a series of consequences of kind of combining a pandemic, which was making it difficult for them to get a lot of things done, with people turnover, where we’re then having to bring in interims to keep the town going (who) wouldn’t have all the background or necessarily be able to dive into things at the same level that you’ve got when you’ve got either the previous person there or a new person that’s picking this up, knowing that they’re going to have to work it from end to end,” he said.

Saunders highlighted what made the audit of the FY 20-21 budget proceed so much more smoothly.

“This is due to the new treasurer Cheryl McClanahan’s diligence in closing out the year and timeliness in making the necessary files ready and available to the auditors following the close out,” he said.

He confirmed Hawkins is expected to make the audit presentation at the Nov. 9 council meeting.

Earlier in the Oct. 12 meeting, the Town Council voted 4-0 to enact an ordinance establishing a personal property tax relief percentage of 18.03% for the town’s 2021 calendar year personal property tax bills. Not voting were council members J. Randy Carr and George Stubbs, who were absent from the meeting.

Prior to the vote, McClanahan provided background on the issue when she said, “Each year the town re-adopts an ordinance per the 2005 revisions to the Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998. This year, the property tax relief percentage is 18.03%.”

A public hearing on the matter immediately followed her comments and immediately preceded the council’s vote. No one spoke during the hearing.

Later in the meeting, during the treasurer’s report, McClanahan stated that personal property tax bills were going out in the mail to town citizens, hopefully, on Oct. 15. She said she found out Isle of Wight County tax bills are also going out Oct. 15.

“So everybody’s going to be getting a bill from the Town of Windsor and Isle of Wight County next week,” she said Oct. 12.

Saunders said the personal property tax bills from the town have a due date of Dec. 6.

McClanahan shared with the Town Council that “anything that had a zero balance I do not put in the mail, so if people call, we will print them a copy and give it to them. I just didn’t feel a zero bill justified a 50-cent stamp. I’m trying to save y’all money so we can use it.”