Windsor Locks audit finds half of 36 businesses owe more taxes

Windsor Locks audit finds half of 36 businesses owe more taxes

By Anthony Branciforte
Journal Inquirer

WINDSOR LOCKS — The first round of tax bills resulting from an audit of businesses’ personal property, totaling about $270,000, have been sent out, First Selectman Christopher Kervick said Tuesday.

The audit, which is being conducted by the firm Tax Management Associates, will look at the personal property of 225 town businesses during the current and next fiscal years.

Thirty-six businesses were audited, and additional tax bills were sent to 18 of them.

While businesses may appeal these bills, Kervick told the Board of Finance on Tuesday that Tax Management Associates, or TMA, assured officials that it has a low rate of appeal because of the nature of its process.

The two-year audit project will cost $293,400, and TMA has projected it will net the town about $2.7 million. While half of the 225 businesses were to be audited this fiscal year, Kervick said some may have to wait until the next fiscal year because the first phase took extra time.

“Getting that first batch out the door, to me, was the toughest part,” he said. “Now we’re starting to get a good flow going.”

Kervick added that TMA now has the files for all 225 businesses.

The audit was a source of partisan controversy when Kervick initially commissioned it without Board of Finance approval.

Although the board was aware of the proposed audit and planned to vote on its approval, Kervick informed members before the scheduled vote that the town had already entered into a contract with TMA, which had begun working on the audit.

Board Republicans did not oppose the audit itself, but said the matter was an example of repeated overstepping and procedural circumvention by Kervick.

The first selectman, who admitted he had made a mistake, said the controversy was a result of partisan posturing during an election season.

That spat did not come up Tuesday when Kervick presented the results to the board, with Chairman Paul Harrington expressing satisfaction with the results so far, calling the $270,000 “nothing to sneeze at.”