Hadley and Hatfield to lose their accounting departments

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Posted: 10/11/2019 2:48:19 PM

Modified: 10/11/2019 14:48:05

HADLEY – Hadley and Hatfield are among six communities in the state that lost their accounting departments at the end of the year.

Both cities were recently told by Maynard’s Baystate Municipal Accounting Group that the company will close on December 29 after 10 years serving municipalities.

“I decided to take a step back from the day-to-day work of a city accountant to focus on my health and my family,” wrote Justin Cole, the company’s president and chief municipal officer, in a letter to les cities.

As part of the end of his service, Cole pledged to close the books for the 2019 fiscal year, ensure that each city’s available money is submitted to the Department of Revenue, and have the financial statements submitted and accepted. 2020 tax rate by the same state agency. Payroll, accounts payable, reporting and reconciliation will continue as normal until the end of the year.

Hadley City Administrator David Nixon said on Friday that Hadley was exploring alternatives to Baystate, reviewing the accounting programs offered by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, and speaking with other cities, including Hatfield, of possible shared services.

Calling it “an ongoing situation,” Nixon said he hopes to have a concrete plan to move forward presented to the board by mid-November.

Hadley has been using Baystate since the fall of 2015, when city accountant Gail Weiss resigned to fill the same position at Orange. Nixon said that over the past four years there had been no problem with the way the company had handled the city’s $ 21 million budget, observing that Hadley had been upgraded to an AAA rating.

In Hatfield, Baystate has been handling the bookkeeping and providing assistance to the treasurer and tax collector since early 2018, after a 2017 audit noted concerns about the city’s financial practices. These practices resulted in the late sending of tax bills due on February 1 and May 1, 2018 and a special municipal assembly had to be called to fill a deficit of $ 315,000 so that the city’s financial books could be put. in accordance with state DOR requirements.

Hatfield’s board of directors will meet with Cole and the city’s finance committee on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Other communities affected by the Baystate closure include Warwick, Ashburnham, Millville and Monterrey.

Mary Jane Handy, a member of the state’s municipal finance oversight board, informed council members last week that Baystate was “overwhelmed” and gave communities the required 90 days notice.

“It’s going to be tough,” Handy told the State House News Service, noting that most towns and villages in Massachusetts have in-house accounting staff.

In an interview with the News Service, Cole said he is working with the six communities to place them either with a traditional municipal accountant or with another service provider, so that there is no disruption to their operations. .

The State Local Services Division did not respond to inquiries from the information service about the situation or potential ways to help communities. Auditor Suzanne Bump, who chairs the city’s finance council, declined to comment.

Documents from the State House News Service were used in this report.

Scott Merzbach can be contacted at [email protected]


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