DiZoglio: Methuen State Legislators Pushing for Budget Audit, Fiscal Overseer

Then-Rep. Diana DiZoglio discussed the state of Methuen's city budget with Bill Macek during an appearance on WHAV's Open Mic Show. (WHAV News photograph.)

Rep. Diana DiZoglio discussed the state of Methuen's city budget with Bill Macek during a June 25 appearance on WHAV's Open Mic Show. (WHAV News photograph)

The city of Methuen is still without a budget ahead of the June 30 approval deadline, and state Rep. Diana DiZoglio tells WHAV Beacon Hill is coming together to push for a fiscal overseer to review city finances.

During an appearance on this week’s Open Mic Show With Bill Macek, DiZoglio said she and her legislative counterparts Rep. Linda Dean Campbell and Rep. Frank Moran are exploring options with the Office of Administration and Finance and Gov. Charlie Baker to petition for a formal audit.

Speaking in general terms, DiZoglio hopes to see an investigation into what she calls “financial gaps” and “challenges” in city budgets relating to the schools and police department.

“We need someone to come in, do an audit, and be able to identify where things went wrong,” DiZoglio said.

Methuen’s state delegation does not have voting power to sound off on Mayor James P. Jajuga’s proposed $168 million budget, but representatives can shepherd deficit borrowing through the House, DiZoglio said.

As part of the home rule petition to pass a borrowing bill for Methuen, a financial overseer will be introduced into the process.

“Part of that home rule petition will likely have a fiscal overseer as part of the package,” she said. “It will most likely also have an audit that will be conducted as a provision in order to pass the borrowing bill.”

This week, Jajuga said he was unable to properly assess the revised budget as presented to him by city councilors, which included more than $1.3 million in recommended cuts.

As the approval deadline looms, a sticking point over contracted police salary increases remains. The city also seeks to borrow $4 million from the state to cover a school department deficit.