City of Hornell – Business Improvement District (2018M-38)

Issued Date
April 08, 2022

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the City of Hornell (City) Common Council (Council) provided sufficient oversight of the Business Improvement District (BID) to ensure it operated in accordance with the BID Plan (Plan).

Key Findings

The Council did not provide sufficient oversight of the BID and the Plan lacked sufficient detail to allow City officials to adequately monitor the use of BID funds. As a result, the Council cannot evaluate the BID’s effectiveness in achieving program goals or ensure the appropriate use of BID funds.

The Council did not:

  • Enter into a written agreement with the district management association (Association).
  • Monitor the manner in which the Association used BID funds, resulting in revenues of at least $3,915 that were unaccounted for and 138 questionable disbursements by the Association’s Executive Director (Executive Director) totaling $24,955.

Based upon our audit findings and subsequent investigation, the Executive Director of the Association was arrested in January 2020 and charged with Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. On January 7, 2022, the Executive Director pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and was ordered to pay $1,711 in restitution.

Key Recommendations

Enter into a written agreement with the Association for services to be provided and monitor BID financial operations.

Except as specified in Appendix A, City officials generally agreed with our recommendations and indicated they would take corrective action. Appendix B includes our comments on issues raised in the City’s response.