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State Finds Town Of Nashua Failed To Submit Finances

At the end of 2023, a number of Town of Nashua taxpayers submitted an Application for Review of Claim Against a Local Government Entity (Claim) to determine if the Town of Nashua’s violated their fiduciary requirements. These taxpayers wanted to know, from the Montana Department of Administration (DOA), if the Town failed to file annual financial reports with the department, failed to complete and submit an audit or financial review to the department as required and/or failed to adopt by resolution and then submit an annual operating budget to DOA within two years of the applicable deadlines as required.

On Jan. 12, 2024, DOA concluded there was sufficient evidence to support the taxpayers’ claim of violations of the requirements of the State of Montana Single Audit Act for a period of two years from the applicable deadlines for the following: failure to file the fiscal year 2019, 2020 and 2021 annual financial reports and failure to submit the required financial review report for 2020. DOA also concluded there was sufficient evidence to support the Taxpayers’ claim of violations of the requirements of the Local Government Budget Act for a period of two years from the applicable deadlines for failure to submit the complete copy of the entity’s final budget for fiscal year 2020.

The Montana Single Audit Act was established to help ensure that Montana local governments provide transparency and accountability to their taxpayers. The Act requires that all local governments complete annual financial reports. The Town of Nashua is listed as being over 180 days delinquent in filing their annual financial reports for 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

As a result of these delayed reports, the Town of Nashua is facing penalties from the State, specifically $55 per month, per report, which equates to a monthly fee of $275, which as of press time the Town is also behind on, per the State. As a result, the funds are being withheld from other funds coming to the town from the State, such as in the form of grants. The Town is still receiving their Entitlement Shares from the State as those can not be withheld to pay the penalties as a result of delayed reporting.

According to Resolution No. 531, which was signed Sept. 28, 2023, the Nashua Town Council voted by unanimous vote to approve the levy of 174.48 mils and the budget of the Town of Nashua for the fiscal year 2023-2024 is approved and adopted. The Resolution also stated the Town Clerk shall forward a complete copy of said budget, together with the tax levies made, to the Department of Commerce, Division of Local Government Services of the State of Montana. However, when viewing the Montana State Financial Services Division website, which allows the public viewing of budgets, annual financial reports and audits and financial reviews, the information is not listed for the fiscal year, 2023-2024.

Since the DOA report came out in January, the Town of Nashua has been working with Chet McLean, internal controls coordinator for the State of Montana, to get the past reports and documents submitted. During the Town’s regular council meeting on Feb. 12, Mayor Joanna Turner reported McLean submitted the information for 2019 earlier that day and was currently working on 2020. Two budgets were also submitted however were not accepted due to needing additional paperwork. “We’re getting with local government services and she’s actually going to walk us through it,” stated Mayor Joanna Turner at the Town council meeting.

The next regular meeting of the Town of Nashua will be held on Monday, March 11, 7 p.m., in the Nashua Civic Center, 705 Front Street, Nashua. Notices will be posted at B&B Foods, Senior Citizen Center and the Civic Center. During the Feb. 12 meeting, the Council also approved the second reading of Resolution 533 Town Council Policy and Conduct/Public Participation at Council Meetings. The Council is expected to go through a third reading of this resolution at the March meeting.

To review any city or town’s government reports, they can be viewed at: https://sfsd.mt.gov/LGSB/Local-Gov-Reports.

 

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