When West Deptford was called before the state of New Jersey back in August, the question came before the Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) as to whether the township would require state oversight of its finances.
That question was prompted by the huge debt obligation in its 2013 municipal budget ($15.5 million in payments), which triggered an automatic state review.
And although DLGS Director Thomas Neff said that the board would not be placing West Deptford on formal supervision, he did announce earlier this week that the township would be providing quarterly budget and finance reports to the body starting Nov. 1.
West Deptford Mayor Ray Chintall said that CFO Brenda Sprigman has been in contact with DLGS Bureau Chief Christine Zapicchi "for some time," and that the two already had been discussing the nature of such reporting before the announcement.
"I have no problems with giving the board quarterly reports," Chintall told Patch. "Complying with the direction of the board does not imply that there was any mismanagement of township finances.
"It shows that we can assure the division that we have better fiscal control," he said.
Chintall said that the new reporting structure will provide township committee members with monthly access to the finances of West Deptford.
"We’ll be able to scrutinize our own departments and better know what our expenditures are versus appropriations," the mayor said.
"We never had that ability; it’s like using a computer versus an abacus."
Chintall said that he and other Republicans have been seeking greater oversight of the finances of West Deptford for years, and that he welcomed the additional reporting.
On the other side of the aisle, West Deptford Committeewoman Denice DiCarlo, who wrote a letter to Neff asking the director to take a closer look at the township finances after its budgeting season, said she "couldn't be more thrilled" that the committee would be receiving additional reporting.
“This is what I asked for," DiCarlo said. "One of the reasons why I asked for it is because I’ve been told multiple times, ‘we’re working on reporting.’ I think it’s fantastic that they took my recommendation, and the only sad part is that the first report isn’t out until November."
Chintall said, "there's no disagreement" between the parties that greater financial reporting is a boon to the township.
"The more reporting, the better," Chintall said. "The state wants to see a few documents.
"Regardless of whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, we’re going to have to deal with [our] debt for some time."