Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency - Project Approval and Monitoring (2019M-160)

Issued Date
November 01, 2019

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Board appropriately evaluated projects prior to approval and subsequently monitored the performance of businesses that received financial benefits.

Key Findings

  • The Board properly evaluated projects prior to approving financial benefits.
  • The Board could improve its monitoring and verification of project performance related to job creation and capital investment.
  • Four companies received sales tax exemptions that exceeded approved amounts by a total of $173,446. Of this amount, officials properly recaptured $97,020 from one company.

Key Recommendations

The Board should:

  • Ensure that reported employment levels are verified and supported.
  • Develop procedures to monitor that companies’ actual capital investments are consistent with those specified on the applications and used in the cost-benefit analysis.
  • Continue to compare the actual sales tax exemptions claimed by companies with the amounts authorized by the Board.
  • Recapture the sales tax exemption benefits from companies who have exceeded the amounts authorized.

IDA officials disagreed with how we presented the findings in the report. Appendix C includes our comments on the issues raised in the IDA’s response letter.