New Danville budget without knowing bottom line of last four years

By Geoff Agombar – Local Journalism Initiative
New Danville budget without knowing bottom line of last four years

Shortly before last October’s municipal elections, news broke that things were not going smoothly at Danville townhall. No fiscal statements had been produced since 2017 and the September council meeting was cancelled because quorum was not reached.

With a new budget about to be presented on Jan. 31, the new mayor Martine Satre spoke to The Record last week. While resisting the role of judge, Satre could not avoid reflections on the mess she has inherited, even as her new council and fresh administrative hires clear a path forward.

As of today, Danville is in a cash crunch, unable to access eligible grant funds because financial statements are not finalized, juggling payments and outstanding receivables, dipping into the credit margin, while wrestling through four years of tangled accounting to finalize financial statements and access grant funds that would address the cash crunch.
In response to one citizen during question period at the Jan. 10 council meeting, Satre recalled the famous image of a snake eating its own tail.

“We are going to present a budget next Monday that is based on the best information we have and our obligations,” Satre explains. “We have no idea what the balance is for the last three, actually four years. We have had to abstract the past.”
She will only begin to know more when 2018 and 2019 financial statements are finalized in March. Work on the 2020 and 2021 statements will begin after those first two years are sorted. So, it will be months before the full picture comes into focus, “We could be headed for a deficit [in those years],” Satre cautions.
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