BYRON — The Board of Selectmen announced Tuesday there will be a special town meeting May 21 to vote on several financial matters, including $17,000 to pay for audits of town finances for the past five years.

Chairwoman Linda Joyal said representatives of the auditing firm RHR Smith & Co. of Buxton will attend, but she does not anticipate the results of the audits — from 2013 to 2017 — will be ready until June.

Voters will also be asked whether to raise money to audit financial records from Jan. 1 to April 11, the day Town Clerk Allison Freeman resigned. She was elected in 2013 and resigned a week after the audits began.

Selectman James Ramey said at that time that initial audit results revealed significant financial discrepancies, including missing funds.

Another article on the May 21 warrant asks voters if they want to designate a public works position as a non-town official position and move money from the municipal budget into a separate account for it.

In another financial matter, Town Clerk Rosie Susbury said there was no need for an article to create a savings account for the town’s contract with area fire departments for services because voters approved it in March 2013.

“It was approved to open a savings account for the Fire Department, so that when the contract comes up with whichever town we are dealing with, we don’t need to come up with the money all at once,” Susbury said. “But no account was opened, and no money was transferred.”

Susbury told the board she has opened the account and put in $6,000.

Also Tuesday, Joyal and Ramey were sworn in as assessors and both requested they receive some training.

According to David Heidrich, director of communications for the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, part-time assessors, such as selectpersons, are not required to receive training.

“If I’m going to do it, I need to know how to do it right,” Ramey said.

Joyal said John O’Donnell of John E. O’Donnell & Associates of New Gloucester,  is willing to give them hands-on training and a meeting is set for 8 a.m. Friday.

Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds “respectfully declined” to be on the Board of Assessors, saying she would not have time this summer.

In other business, the board discussed the possibility of investing in TRIO software, a user-friendly municipal budgetary accounting system.

Susbury said it is similar to QuickBooks, which the town uses, but has useful features, such as a direct link to the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles and automatic backups to an off-site database.

“I feel like it would secure us,” Joyal said.

The price for that security, Joyal said, is “substantial.” In total, to train the town officials, install the equipment, and maintain upgrades, it would cost the town approximately $23,000.

“If we had that we wouldn’t be in the pickle we’re in,” resident Melissa Ramey said.

The board and Susbury decided to wait for the results of the audits to see where the town stands financially before making a decision on the software.

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Town Clerk Rosie Susbury, left, swears in Selectman James Ramey as an assessor at Tuesday night’s selectmen meeting. Selectman Linda Joyal, center, was also sworn in as an assessor. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)


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