Southeastern PA

Richland Township supervisor alleges ‘bad mark' on 2018 audit

RICHLAND TWP., Pa. - Richland Township Supervisor Rick Orloff alleged during the board's Monday meeting that a "bad mark" was on the township's 2018 audit because of the way Richland Township Water Authority's financials are reported.

Orloff said that he had contacted the township's auditors, who said that they had an "adverse opinion" regarding the Richland Township Water Authority's (RTWA) financials being reported separately from the rest of the township, and that the financials of the RTWA are audited by a separate company.

According to Orloff, township auditors received RTWA's audit but elected not to include it in the township's audit due to past precedent of the last three to four years of not including that data in the township's audit.

"This is the first we're hearing of this," Supervisor Timothy Ritter said.

Board Chairman Tim Arnold said that the report from the RTWA was sent to the township treasurer and was forwarded along to the township's auditors within 24 hours.

Township Manager Paul Stepanoff confirmed that.

During the increasingly heated discussion, Orloff accused the water authority of keeping its financials "a closely guarded secret." He blamed the water authority for the audit issue.

Arnold questioned Orloff's motives of bringing this situation up now when it has seemingly been an issue for the last couple of years.

"Are you trying to make this your last hurrah for your last few months here?" Arnold asked. "We did what we were supposed to do."

Arnold said that they could remedy the situation in the future by making sure that the RTWA's financials are included in the township's full audit in the coming years.

In another matter, the supervisors looked at ways to make it safer for residents to enjoy the ponds owned by the township.

The supervisors looked at proposed allowable activities in two township ponds located at Brayton Gardens II off of Tollgate Road, and a pond located between Heller Road and the Walnut Bank Farms solar panel field.

Under the new ordinance, swimming would be prohibited but boating would be allowed for manually- or electrically-powered boats. Gas-powered watercraft or watercraft that requires a trailer or a ramp would not be allowed.

Boat users must also have United States Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices with them. Non-swimmers or children under the age of 12 must wear these devices at all times.

Ice skating and walking on township waters that appear to be frozen would be prohibited under the new ordinance, except in such times designated by the township.

The new ordinance would allow fishing in township-owned waters under the rules outlined by Pennsylvania Fishing and Boat Commission.

The supervisors approved the proposed changes and authorized the township solicitor to advertise a draft ordinance at a later date.

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