ROCK FALLS – A Coloma Township trustee who has criticized the township’s handling of finances says things appear to be turning around.
The township’s auditing firm, Wipfli, which has been working on Coloma’s audit for months, gave the township a deadline of this week to turn in numbers for revenue. Otherwise, it would have to wait until after tax season ends to finish Coloma’s audit.
Supervisor Debra Burke is working on it, Trustee Peggy McFadden said.
“I think she’ll make the deadline,” she said.
At a special meeting last week, McFadden told Burke that she should work more than 20 hours a week to take care of the township’s financial problems.
“She was elected to do a job,” McFadden said in an interview Tuesday. “You work the hours it takes you to do it. Last night, she was at the office until 8 o’clock. She is working overtime to get the job done.”
Over the last couple of weeks, Burke has turned in long-overdue financial reports to the state comptroller’s office, which requires such documents from all of the state’s governmental entities.
The comptroller’s office recently fined the township more than $13,000 for the late reports, although Burke is asking the state to eliminate or reduce that penalty.
In the past few days, Burke turned in the 2012 report. Unlike the ones from the 2011 and 2012, she listed all of the funds, including for the cemetery and general assistance to the poor. The previous reports contained only the road and main town funds, although their amounts indicated that Burke had consolidated other funds into those numbers.
In all three reports, she appeared to have made the same mistake in the appropriations section – double-counting the town fund, which overstated the total of the appropriations.
Last year, the township also published long-overdue, error-riddled financial reports in the newspaper.
Burke, who started as supervisor in 1981, blamed health issues and wrong numbers in the computer for the late reports. She has, instead, relied on bank statements.
McFadden said she had no idea about the township’s financial problems when she was appointed to the board of trustees earlier this year.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into,” she said. “I don’t think those before me were watching things. I’m not naming names.”