Lower Nazareth Township Board of Supervisors could have saved taxpayers at least $34,720.00 (and likely much more!) over the past 7 years by utilizing the elected board of auditors instead of paying an accountant firm.
Lower Nazareth Township must complete an annual township report and financial statement per the second class township code under section 904. By default this audit is completed by the township’s board of auditors unless the board of township supervisors appoints a third party accountant. Lower Nazareth’s board of auditors has not completed an audit in over 15 years as I, as one of three elected auditors, only discovered by filing multiple Right-to-Know requests since the Township Manager, Lori Stauffer, refused to share this information freely earlier this year as documented in “Township Obstructs Auditor Access to Records” in March 2018.
Although I am an elected auditor, I was denied access to view the audit invoices paid to the accounting firm appointed by the board of supervisors to perform the annual audit so I was forced to file another RTK request. Each RTK request session is limited to 1 hour during hours more restricted than listed on the township website under the supervision of a township employee. No records are allowed to leave the room and the use of the scanner there (paid for by taxpayers I might add!) is prohibited so in practice you either scan with a phone or lug in a scanner.
By law, the cost of the township board of auditors to perform the audit is limited to $3000 in our township regardless of the hours worked at a pay rate of $10 per hour for a maximum of 100 billable hours per each of the 3 auditors. (ie If it somehow took 120 hours per auditor to complete the audit, auditors can only be paid for 100 hours.) However, likely the cost of an audit performed by the auditors would cost significantly less than $3000 as 100 hours per auditor would not be required.
Since the township typically destroys invoices and other records as soon as it can – digitization in the name of transparency is apparently a foreign concept! – only the past 7 years were made available to me under the RTK request. The total annual amounts paid by Lower Nazareth Township are listed below.
Over the past 7 years, audits cost township taxpayers $55,720. Over the same time, the maximum expense of the township auditors would have been $21,000 and likely much less. Doing the math leads to the headline savings of $34,720, or an average of $4960 per year.
For the 2017 audit: $8600.00
For the 2016 audit: $8250.00
For the 2015 audit: $7950.00
For the 2014 audit: $7600.00
For the 2013 audit: $7300.00
For the 2012 audit: $7000.00
For the 2011 audit: $9020.00
A list of the individual invoices by date and audit is below which were summed to give the above totals can be viewed from the link below.
An example invoice is viewable here or below. I plan to deliver this information to the board of supervisors whenever I have a chance to attend their meeting.