New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Village of Alden, Town of Bainbridge, Cortland County, Franklin County, Town of Liberty, Town of Ulster, City of White Plains and the Wilton Water and Sewer Authority.
“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.”
The board did not properly oversee and monitor ambulance billing and collection. Auditors identified charges for ambulance services that were inaccurate, unbilled and uncollected. As a result, approximately $13,900 in potential revenue to the village was not billed ($6,295), underbilled ($5,782) or remained uncollected ($1,830). This occurred, in part, because the board had not adopted written policies and procedures for ambulance service billing and collection.
The board has not established goals for the level of unrestricted fund balance to be maintained, which contributed to the appropriation of imprudent amounts of fund balance. From 2013 through 2015, officials used one-time financing sources to fund recurring expenditures. As a result, the town’s four major operating funds (town-wide general, part-town general, town-wide highway and part-town highway) have experienced combined operating deficits in each of the past three years, totaling more than $310,000.
County officials properly oversaw the water testing performed by the public water supplies and generally performed surveys as required. They addressed water quality issues and properly reported water test results to the New York State Department of Health. Auditors, however, identified other opportunities for improvement.
The county did not procure professional services in accordance with the county’s purchasing policy. The county did not use a request for proposal to procure services that were provided to the county during the audit period from 11 service providers who were paid a total of $1,551,961. As a result, the county may have paid more than necessary when obtaining these services.
Auditors sampled 42 various court transactions and determined that they were properly accounted for because these transactions were recorded as the justices adjudicated and the associated court money was deposited and reported.
The town assessor did not properly grant and monitor property tax exemptions. As a result, property tax reductions totaling $13,176 were granted to the owners of four properties that were not supported with documentation.
The claims reviewed during the audit were for appropriate city purposes, properly itemized, supported and approved before payment. However, auditors did not find any evidence that the commissioner audited these claims, as required by the city charter.
The clerk properly billed, collected, recorded and deposited collections. However, auditors found that the authority did not have written policies or procedures governing the application of billing adjustments and late fees and penalties added to customer accounts.
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.