Nearly $19K refund to aid with police expenses

Published 8:18 pm Thursday, December 28, 2023

The Windsor Town Council unanimously adopted a resolution Dec. 12 to amend the town’s fiscal year 2024 budget by the addition of a nearly $19,000 refund from Isle of Wight County Emergency Communications that will help pay for police maintenance contracts and police accreditation expenses.

In a Dec. 12 staff report to the council and mayor, Windsor Town Manager William Saunders shared details on this refund, utilizing the accounting term “true-up.”

CPAJournal.org states that “a true-up adjustment is an accounting procedure used to make up for discrepancies between actual and estimated costs.”

“Following a true-up of the Isle of Wight County Emergency Communications (Dispatch) FY23 budget, a refund was sent to the town by the county for overpayment,” Saunders stated.

He noted that the town of Windsor received $18,697.86 in a refund and that this amount should be applied to the town’s FY24 budget.

The resolution he was recommending to the council would apply the amount to the Miscellaneous Revenue line item of the General Fund, he stated. Of the amount, $4,834.14 would go to the Police Maintenance Contracts expenditure line item, and the rest, $13,863.72, would go to a newly created Police Accreditation expense line item. 

“This $4,834.14 will reimburse the Police Maintenance Contracts expenditure line item for unexpected costs related to that portion of the (Computer Aided Dispatch/Records Management Software) system that the town pays directly,” he stated. “The development of the new CAD/RMS system has taken longer than expected, which required additional payment to the current provider. 

“The $13,863.72 will establish a new expenditure line item for expenses related to the Windsor Police Department’s accreditation process,” he added.

Councilman Walter Bernacki said, “As I read through this, I kind of had a question — we’ve got almost a $19,000 refund. Is the county having an issue trying to pin down a more precise payment for us, or why such a big refund? I guess I’m kind of at a loss for that.”

Saunders said, “Basically the county would not be billing us for the last installment until after the new fiscal year has started, and then what would occur then will be we would get a bill after the true-up after the new budget cycle has already started, and then we’re trying to pay some of last year’s expenses with the new budget’s revenue.”

He said that for the last two years, the town has followed through on an idea from Windsor Treasurer Cheryl McClanahan whereby the town estimates its final payment to the county based on the prior payments during the year.

“So typically when the true-up comes, we get a refund back, and we’d much prefer to have a refund in the new year than a bill from the last year,” he said.

Further addressing Bernacki’s question, he added, “I think part of the reason that the refund is so sizeable is because they added some staffing positions and other elements to their salary and benefits, and I don’t believe that they’ve been able to get fully staffed during the year.”