NEWPORT — It took some time, a lot of time, but by backtracking in the Newport School District finance records the answers surfaced.
Based on the current numbers, Newport taxpayers will reap the rewards on their tax bills when they arrive in their mailboxes.
In the end, the School Financial Report for the year ending June 30, 2018 revealed an unassigned fund balance of $468,389 that will be used to lower the school tax assessment.
In Newport’s case, $433,250 equals $1 on the tax rate. The difference between the two numbers is $35,139 that will lower the school district tax assessment by a bit more than $1.
The latest budget numbers were sent to the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration on Oct. 1. On Wednesday, Business Administrator George Caccavaro said the DRA had questioned one number that won’t change the final fund balance total.
At the most recent meeting of the Newport School Board, Caccavaro provided detailed information for the five board members to digest.
“I’ll start with some good news,” he said. “The district will be returning approximately $468,000 to be used to lower property taxes.”
The $468,000 is a result of three years of unused encumbrances and an accumulation of budget adjustments going back those three years, Caccavaro revealed.
His statement continued:
“Any projection is only as good as the data used to develop it. When that data changes daily, as it did here, so will the projection. People with financial backgrounds are familiar with this and accept it as a norm.
“It is not possible to have an accurate General Ledger without a starting balance. This information is critical and lack of it should not be taken lightly.
“I’m happy to report that we now have a firm starting balance.
“I was hired in February to get the District’s finances in order. To do that I ended up working through three years of financials and finding an error in 2016-17 which, when corrected, allowed us to have a starting balance for 2017-18, complete the audit for that year and be able to move into 2018-19.
“This past year had its own challenges.
“We had to reconstruct seven months of deposits by finding every check, assign it an account number and entering it into the General Ledger. All deposits were in the bank but not on the books.
“Next we had to balance the checkbook, which hadn’t been balanced for eight months.
“Corrected deposits entered in the wrong accounts or funds and clean up our balance sheets.
“This has been accomplished in the last six months while making improvements in the operations of the business office.
“We requested an extension of the MS25 and we were granted it. All necessary documentation was filed on Oct. 1.
“I remind you that’s at least two months earlier than last year.
“This information will bring the board up to date on where wee stand,” Caccavaro concluded.