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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

August 18, 2015

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Town Allegany, Chili Public Library, Clyde Fire Company, Village of Cohocton, Concord Industrial Development Agency, East Brentwood Fire District, Town of Essex, Town of Exeter, Town of Middlefield, Village of Sag Harbor, Town of Sand Lake, Town of Saugerties, Schoharie County, Smithfield Fire District, Town of Springport, Village of St. Johnsville, Uniondale Public Library, Town of Virgil and the Village of Washingtonville.

“In today’s fiscal climate, budget transparency and accountability for our local communities is a top priority,” said DiNapoli. “By auditing municipal finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively.”

Town of Allegany – Financial Management (Cattaraugus County)

Overall, the board properly managed the town’s finances. However, the board did not review the budget-to-actual status reports the comptroller provided and has not developed a multiyear financial plan.

Chili Public Library – Board Oversight (Monroe County)

The board provided adequate oversight of library finances. However, the board did not audit and approve claims from the private funds account prior to their payment. This increases the risk that errors or irregularities would not be detected and corrected.

Clyde Fire Company, Inc. – Controls Over Financial Activity (Wayne County)

The treasurer controls all aspects of the cash receipts and disbursements processes without any oversight or mitigating controls, such as independent review of his work. In addition, the company’s audit committee has not adopted policies or procedures for financial operations such as conducting fundraising activities, purchasing goods and services, and processing claims.

Village of Cohocton – Cash Receipts (Steuben County)

Prior to the commencement of the audit of the village, an audit of the town of Cohocton identified fraud linked to the former town clerk. During the audit of the town, village money was found deposited in a town account. The audit of the village revealed cash receipts were not properly safeguarded and accounted for in the treasurer’s office.

Concord Industrial Development Agency (CIDA) – Agency Management (Erie County)

The board has not taken sufficient action to initiate new projects and encourage the creation or expansion of new business, significantly affecting CIDA’s viability. CIDA has not taken sufficient action to reduce expenditures.

East Brentwood Fire District – Control Environment and Expenditures (Suffolk County)

The board did not ensure that the secretary included sufficient detail in the board’s meeting minutes, did not comply with town law relating to commissioner elections and did not properly document relevant payroll information. The district also has no policy regarding credit card usage. Auditors reviewed 177 food, travel and credit card expenditures totaling $86,337 and found that the board did not ensure that these expenditures were adequately supported and valid prior to approving them for payment.

Town of Essex – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Essex County)

Auditors found that four employees in 2013 and six employees in 2014 did not receive the correct gross pay. These employees had combined overpayments totaling $4,759 and combined underpayments totaling $852. In addition, state and federal income taxes were not withheld in accordance with employees’ withholding allowance certificates and the proper amounts were not deducted for health insurance premiums from any of the employees’ gross pay during the audit period.

Town of Exeter – Records and Reports (Otsego County)

Although the supervisor provided the board with accurate monthly budget-to-actual reports, the balance sheets included inaccurate account balances. Moreover, the last time the supervisor filed the annual financial report was for the 2010 fiscal year and the tax levy limit calculation has never been filed since the inception of the property tax cap law for the 2012 budget year.

Town of Middlefield – Budgeting (Otsego County)

Although board members followed town procedures when developing budgets, they consistently adopted unrealistic budgets. The board relied on one-time revenues to fund operations and used budget estimates that did not reflect historical trends. Further, the town-wide general and the town-outside-village highway funds had operating deficits for four straight years totaling $45,200 and $127,400.

Village of Sag Harbor – Board Oversight and Justice Court Operations (Suffolk County)

The board allowed budget line items to be routinely over-expended and budget transfers to be made after the end of the fiscal year, rather than throughout the year when needed. The court clerk maintains up-to-date accounting records, however, the justices and village officials did not establish proper controls to ensure the court clerk properly accounted for all issued parking tickets.

Town of Sand Lake – Justice Court (Rensselaer County)

The justices did not ensure that accurate monthly bank account reconciliations were being performed by the clerk, which should be part of their month-end accountability analysis. Furthermore, the justices did not deposit all collections in a timely manner.

Town of Saugerties – Information Technology (Ulster County)

The board needs to improve internal controls to effectively protect the town’s computer system and data. Specifically, the board needs to review user access and restrict administrative rights to those who need such rights to perform their jobs. Furthermore, the board has not developed computer security and disaster recovery plans, and has not established a breach notification policy or a comprehensive inventory policy for all hardware and software.

Schoharie County – Stream Restoration Project and Contract Process (2015M-87)

The board did not provide adequate oversight of the planning and execution of the stream restoration project. In addition, the board did not always ensure that county contracts were properly approved, monitored and paid. No procedures were taken to ensure the lowest possible cost was paid for 18 of 28 professional service contracts totaling $1.2 million.

Smithfield Fire District – Controls Over Financial Activities (Madison County)

The board does not review cash receipts, bank statements, canceled checks or bank reconciliations while conducting the annual audit, causing the audit to be ineffective. Also, the treasurer has not submitted the required annual financial reports to the Office of State Comptroller for the 2010 through 2014 fiscal years.

Town of Springport – Financial Management (Cayuga County)

The board did not provide adequate oversight and management of the town’s financial operations within the town-wide general fund. Also, town officials have not developed policies and procedures to govern budgeting practices and the level of fund balance to maintain and have not communicated long-term plans for the building reserve to taxpayers.

Village of St. Johnsville – Records and Reports (Montgomery County)

Numerous bank account balances did not reconcile to their corresponding cash balances in the accounting records and had total differences ranging from $4,437 to $6,514 per month. In addition, the village filed its annual financial reports to the Office of State Comptroller late for 2011-12 fiscal year and has not yet filed its reports for 2012-13 or 2013-14 fiscal years.

Uniondale Public Library – Procurement (Nassau County)

Library officials did not always seek competition when procuring goods and services. For example, auditors found that officials paid a professional service provider and an insurance broker a total of $90,912 without soliciting competition.

Town of Virgil – Justice Court Operations (Cortland County)

The town justice generally ensures controls are in place to safeguard moneys, however, the justice does not ensure the clerk is pursuing collections of unpaid traffic tickets. As a result, the court had 17 unpaid tickets during the audit period that represent $2,900 in uncollected fines and fees.

Village of Washingtonville – Village Hall Building Project and Board Oversight (Orange County)

The board did not properly plan and provide sufficient oversight and management of the village hall building project. As a result, the second floor of the building is incomplete and unusable more than three years since the start of the project. In addition, the board needs to improve its oversight of village financial operations. Auditors found the former mayor increased his annual salary without the board’s formal authorization.

For access to state and local government spending and 50,000 state contracts, visit OpenBookNY. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.