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    State official praises town’s financial management

    Town officials have earned praise from a state official for their efforts to stabilize the town’s finances. In a Jan. 17 letter to Town Manager Scott Crabtree, Gerald D. Perry, the Department of Revenue’s director of accounts, said, “I want to take this opportunity to compliment you, your staff, and all the town officials who took extraordinary steps over the past year to improve the fiduciary position of the community.” The town became engulfed in a financial crisis last spring when state-mandated audits revealed improper budgeting practices. In his letter, Perry said that his agency would continue to monitor the town’s finances “given the unique circumstances that have occurred in Saugus in the past.” As was the case last year, he said, Saugus will be required to submit its balance sheet to the Revenue Department prior to the close of fiscal 2013, and its free cash will have to be approved prior to its fiscal 2014 tax rate being certified. Unlike the previous year, however, the Revenue Department will not require the town to have completed its annual audit prior to setting the tax rate, according to Crabtree.