CLINTON — People attending a Nov. 19 meeting of the mayor and Board of Aldermen may have been left with more questions than answers about the town's financial picture.
The town is in the 11th month of its 2019 fiscal year, and by Nov. 19 still had no budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins Jan. 1, and an audit of the 2018 books still had not been completed.
Town accountant Tim Butler said at the meeting that the contracted auditor turned in her report for Mayor Lori Ann Bell's review two months ago, but Bell's "management response" has yet to be included in the audit report for delivery to the board and the state Legislative Auditor.
Butler also said the town's expenses are running more than 5 percent above the current year's budget, and state law requires the town to amend it before the end of the year to avoid being written up by the auditor who inspects the books for 2019.
The last two audits have included adverse comments about amending the budget to comply with state law, he noted.
Through October, the town had run a deficit of about $95,000, but Butler said December property tax payments have traditionally eased other deficits.
The board voted to issue an engagement letter to the auditor to begin early on the 2019 audit, but the question of who would write the letter was not addressed.
An employee who retired Oct. 4 is demanding he be paid for unused vacation time he accumulated before he left employment with the town, but Bell said the town does not have the money to pay the sum he is owed.
The town is attempting to set a policy to convert unused leave time to retirement credit, but the policy remains unwritten despite months of discussions about the change.
The mayor and board discussed the amount owed Charlie Brown several months ago, but the amount was not made public and the board never took action to say how much he is owed, audience member John Rouchon said at the meeting.
"Don't leave my life in limbo," Brown's wife, Marilyn, told the board.
Town attorney Charles Griffin said the board could pay Brown his regular monthly salary until the question of whether he should get a lump sum payment or have it added to his retirement payments is settled.
Brown, however, said he wants the lump sum now.
"I have bills to pay," he said.
The discussion finally ended with an agreement to hold a special meeting to continue talks about the issue.