TOWNSEND -- The delayed fiscal year 2012 audit has come in, pushing the town one step closer to having its bond rating restored.
This summer, credit rating agency Moody's revoked Townsend's bond rating due to missing information, including the audit from fiscal 2012.
According to Moody's website, it can withdraw a rating due to "incorrect, insufficient or otherwise inadequate information."
Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said the fiscal 2012 audit was submitted to Moody's and the town is expecting to wait a few weeks for the reply.
"Based on everything we know, we have reason to be hopeful that it will be restored," Sheehan said.
The audit was delayed due to the fact that Townsend began using a new auditing agency in 2011, and needed to provide them with more information than they normally would, according to Sheehan.
Although some in town have expressed concerns about the bond rating being downgraded when it is restored, Sheehan said he hopes to have the town's previous bond rating of AA3 reinstated.
The management letter that accompanied the fiscal 2012 audit listed five material weaknesses in how the town's finances are run, four of which carried over from the previous year's audit.
The listed recommendations which carried over from fiscal 2011 were improve the cash reconciliation process, improve controls over water activity, develop a more formal risk assessment process, maintain tax title accounts. The new recommendation was to improve internal controls in the collector's office.
Sheehan said the town has been working to address these weaknesses, particularly by making changes in the operation of the Water Department.
"Obviously having any material weanesses is a reason for concern. We'd prefer not to have any, so we're working through those to try to address all of the items that were raised," Sheehan said.
Although he said the delays have pushed back the process for addressing these weaknesses, making it likely that they will appear in the fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2014 audits as well, Sheehan said the town is working to correct them as quickly as possible.
"Because of the timing, unfortunately it is spilling over into next year, which we'd prefer not to happen, but there's nothing we can really do about that because we're so far into fiscal 2014 already. But we have every reason to be confident," Sheehan said.