Edgartown wastewater commissioners make accounting changes

Edgartown wastewater commissioners make accounting changes

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Following a harshly critical auditor’s report that spurred a state police investigation of accounting practices at the Edgartown Wastewater Department, wastewater commissioners voted Tuesday to change the way the department bills residential customers.

The auditors have advised the town for two years that the department should not issue bills and collect payments from the same office. The auditor noted the same deficiency at the Edgartown Water District. Wastewater commissioners agreed with the auditor’s recommendations, but delays in implementing the MUNIS accounting system used by most town departments stalled the change in accounting procedures.

On Tuesday wastewater commissioners voted to have the town collector and accountant collect payments beginning this month, coordinating reconciliation of bills and payments manually until the automated accounting software is installed.

“With this change we have complied with all of the recommendations made in the town’s most recent audit,” the commissioners wrote in a letter to selectmen.

The auditor refused to sign the town’s annual audit report, because of deficiencies in the wastewater department’s accounting practices. The auditor found that septage haulers were effectively telling the town how much they should be billed, with no accounting trail to verify the transactions.

State police are investigating whether anyone defrauded the town.