The Collingdale Borough Council was shocked to learn last week that $330,000 in property tax collections from 2022 is missing. A forensic auditor will be hired to look for the lost money.

Council President Ryan Hastings said he initially learned of the discrepancy last December when borough auditor George Fieo conducted an audit of tax collections.

“We discussed [what] he had found during the 2022 audit,” said Hastings. “The finding is in the tune of $330,000…I have been following the advice of professionals…who have been in contact with the tax collector. There needs to be a forensic audit…to develop the evidence on what happened. It’s not a witch hunt. It’s not… finger-pointing. It’s collecting evidence to see what happened to this $330,000.”

The money represents 13 percent of the borough’s tax collections, according to solicitor Pete Amuso.

“[Auditor George Fieo] was concerned,” Amuso told the council. He then said that tax collector Diane Hunter “didn’t provide what Fieo asked for.”

Hunter, who was sitting in the audience, disputed Amuso’s claim. “Yes, I did,” she said.

Amuso disagreed and continued to discuss what he’d been told by the auditor

“The one piece of information he could determine was completely off,” said Amuso. “I just think there’s a significant, significant gap here that the auditor alerted to us. We are concerned…We just want to bring a professional in to overlook everything…”

Councilman Stephen Zane expressed skepticism about the amount and whether a forensic audit was needed.

“I asked [Fieo] if there was any major concerns with the audit and did not state that it was that big of a number,” said Zane. “Obviously a $330,000 finding from a third party is definitely concerning, if true. However, he did not make any persuasion that that was the issue.”

Zane complained that Hastings was surprising the council and the public with motions that hadn’t been previously discussed. “It’s nice that all council members are prepared so they’re not thrown for a loop, especially a $330,000 number.”

He suggested that there should be a review of last year’s reports from the Finance Committee.

“That information would have shown [the missing money]…The Finance Committee should have been watching,” Zane said. “They’re our overseers. In today’s world, everyone is responsible…Those departments oversee. That’s the bottom line.”

Hastings, however, said that it was the full council that oversees all borough functions. “We want a forensic audit of the borough’s accounts. So, the process starts at the tax collector, and then we listen to the advice of the auditor, the evidence.”

The council sided with Zane’s suggestion that the auditor should review all borough accounts for missing money.

It’s believed that the tax collector’s office will cooperate with the forensic audit. Hunter declined to comment. Hastings did not return an email asking for more information.

There’s no word on when an auditor will be hired or when the review will start.