Town looks to put ‘fresh eyes’ on financial situation

Jul 9, 2024

There are big expenses on the horizon in Wareham, and according to Finance Committee Chair Norma Scoggin, the town needs fresh eyes to review and evaluate the town’s financial situation. 

Over the next year, the Division of Local Services, a state agency which provides support and oversight to municipal officials, will take a look at the Town of Wareham’s financial management, offering suggestions for improvement. 

The last time Wareham had a financial review from the Division of Local Services was in 2010, said Scoggin. It resulted, at least indirectly, in new financial policies which improved the town’s financial situation, she added. 

Notably, the town is not in the same situation it was in 2010, Scoggin said: “We’re, I think, on a much better footing.”

However, the town is “constantly agonizing” over how it can pay its bills and bring in new revenue, she said. Among the town’s monetary headaches are large expenses such as major projects to improve the town’s sewer system. 

The Finance Committee has been considering the idea of a financial review since April, and at a recent meeting, it decided to ask the Select Board to request one from the Division of Local Services. 

The Select Board agreed, and voted to make that request at a meeting on Tuesday, July 8. 

“I think this is a great idea,” summed up Select Board Member Sarah Corbitt. She added the current financial managers have done a “tremendous job,” but “it always helps to have a set of fresh eyes.”

It will take between three and four months from the time of the request for the Division of Local Services to start its review, said Scoggin. She said the scope of the review will determine how long it takes. 

Based on the length of the last review, it will take around nine months to a year from the request to the final completion, estimated Town Administrator Derek Sullivan.