Riverhead Town financial administrator William Rothaar addresses the board about potential budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus crisis.

Riverhead Town officials adequately assessed the impact of the pandemic on financial operations when they developed the 2021 operating budget, a review by the Office of the State Comptroller found.

The comptroller’s office reviewed the town’s adopted budget and other pertinent information and interviewed town officials, according to a letter addressed to Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and the town board.

“Our review found that while developing 2021 budgetary estimates for significant revenues and expenditures, Town officials adequately considered the pandemic’s impact on financial operations,” deputy comptroller Elliott Auerbach wrote in the letter said.

“However, in consideration of the continually new and evolving impacts caused by the pandemic, town officials should carefully monitor their budgeted to actual revenues and expenditures and make amendments to the budget as needed throughout the year,” he wrote.

“This is the result of diligent budgetary planning with anticipation of losses during a pandemic,” Aguiar said this morning. The comptroller’s review demonstrated the town’s ability to properly manage and protect its finances, she said.

“I want to thank our financial administrator, William Rothaar, the town board and all our department heads who collaborated to ensure we maintain financial stability. This accomplishment was achieved without the loss of employment or furloughing employees, which many Suffolk towns endured,” said Aguiar, The town was also able to “maintain the services our taxpayers need and deserve,” she said.

Auditors conducted reviews of adopted budgets of various counties, cities, towns and villages across the state to assess whether local officials adequately considered the impact of the pandemic on their financial operations while developing their 2021 fiscal year budgets, the comptroller’s office said in a press release.


Editor’s note: This article was amended post-publication to add the comments of the town supervisor.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.