Hadley signs on with PVPC accounting service

Staff Writer
Published: 11/14/2019 11:18:27 PM
Modified: 11/14/2019 11:18:16 PM

HADLEY — A regional accounting service started by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission three years ago is expected to begin providing Hadley’s municipal accounting in early 2020.

The Select Board agreed Wednesday to have Town Administrator David Nixon and Treasurer Linda Sanderson negotiate an arrangement with the regional agency so that Eric Kinsherf, a Bourne-based certified public accountant, can begin handling the accounting work for the town’s $21 million budget.

The decision to move forward with PVPC’s service follows notification by Baystate Municipal Accounting Group of Maynard in October that its business would close Dec. 29 after 10 years serving municipalities. Hadley is one of six communities Baystate has served.

Eric Weiss, PVPC’s regional municipal services manager, told the board that the accounting service was created because it can fulfill a significant and complicated need in supporting the financial well being of communities. The accountants handle matters such as certifying free cash, doing monthly budget reports and handling annual reconciliation.

“We’re trying to offer this program to as many municipalities as we can,” Weiss said.

The program already serves Goshen and Chesterfield, as well as Blandford, Brookfield and Monterrey, Weiss said.

Weiss said the majority of work is done remotely, though some staff can be available at Town Hall. Weiss added that Kinsherf may be adding staff to handle the work.

The usual cost for towns is about $70,000 to $75,000 a year, as well as $130 an hour for any work done outside the contract. There is also a 4½ percent fee paid to PVPC for its role in overseeing the program.

As part of winding down Baystate’s operations, Justin Cole, president and director of municipal finance for the business, wrote in a letter sent to the towns that it would close the fiscal year 2019 books, make sure each town’s free cash is submitted to the Department of Revenue and have the 2020 tax rates submitted and accepted by the same state agency. Payroll, accounts payable, reporting and reconciliation will all continue as normal through the end of the year.

Hadley has used Baystate since fall 2015, when then town accountant Gail Weiss resigned to take the same position in Orange.

In the time between Baystate’s departure and the arrival of a new company, Sanderson said Assistant Treasurer Joan Zuzgo may be able to handle some accounting duties because she is familiar with the software.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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