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

State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

April 5, 2017

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Town of Fulton, Town of Greenport, Town of Guilderland, Kenilworth Fire District No. 2, Sodus Center Fire Department, Town of Thurman, Wading River Fire District, Warren County and the West Albany Fire District.

"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 Fulton – Justice Court Operations (Schoharie County)

The former justice did not ensure court money was accurately and completely collected, recorded, deposited and reported in a timely manner. Of the 105 vehicle and traffic tickets issued during the audit period, the former justice did not adjudicate 82 tickets, either because he did not hold court on a regular basis or did not pursue those defendants who failed to appear. Since the appointed (interim) justice took over, 48 tickets have been adjudicated and closed, including 32 of the former justice's 82 cases.

Town of Greenport – Town Clerk Operations (Columbia County)

The clerk did not issue press-numbered duplicate receipts for all transactions and did not perform monthly bank reconciliations. Furthermore, the clerk did not submit a monthly report of all moneys received and disbursed to the supervisor and did not make disbursements to the supervisor and state agencies in a timely manner. The board also did not provide adequate oversight of the clerk's financial activities and did not provide for an annual audit of her records.

Town of Guilderland – Golf Course Collections (Albany County)

Collections at the golf course were properly accounted for and deposited timely and intact. However, driving range fees were not remitted to the town comptroller's office in a timely manner. No one independent of the director reconciled the daily sales logs to his annual report of driving range fees. Furthermore, the director did not provide the town comptroller's office with documentation to support his annual report of driving range fees.

Kenilworth Fire District No. 2 – Financial Activities (Erie County)

The board does not provide sufficient oversight over the treasurer, whose duties are not adequately segregated. The treasurer is responsible for all aspects of the district's cash transactions including receipting, disbursing and recording, as well as preparing bank reconciliations. The board reviews the check register, but does not review the bank reconciliations or canceled check images. Further, while the board annually contracts with a certified public accounting firm to perform an annual audit, the treasurer does not provide monthly financial reports to the board during the year.

Sodus Center Fire Department – Financial Activities (Wayne County)

Oversight of the department's financial activities could be improved. The department constitution does not define the financial oversight responsibilities and does not provide specific guidelines on how the membership should exercise its decision-making power. As a result, the treasurer makes deposits, disburses cash and performs all recordkeeping functions without an adequate independent review.

Town of Thurman – Garbage Bag Inventory and Collections (Warren County)

The board did not establish comprehensive written policies and procedures to adequately account for the unsold inventory and sale of bags or ensure that collections were deposited intact and in a timely manner. As a result, town officials could not account for 17 cases containing 431 rolls of bags with an approximate sales value of $6,100.

Wading River Fire District – Gasoline Credit Cards (Suffolk County)

The board has adopted a credit card policy, but it did not establish written policies and procedures for gasoline credit card use and monitoring. As a result, accountability over gasoline purchases is diminished and there is limited assurance that the $19,225 in gasoline purchases made by district employees and officials were for proper district purposes.

Warren County – Occupancy Tax and Weights and Measures (2016M-346)

While the procedures in place for the processing of occupancy taxes paid to the county were sufficient, the treasurer could improve oversight by implementing procedures to ensure that establishments are paying the correct amounts. Auditors identified 16 lodging facilities not registered with the county that should have been remitting occupancy tax. Auditors also found that the director of the county's department of weights and measures did not conduct inspections of all potentially eligible businesses.

West Albany Fire District – Credit Card Purchases (Albany County)

District officials made 38 credit card purchases during the audit period that required prior approval because they were in excess of $500. Of those purchases, 22 totaling $22,224 were not approved in advance by either board approval or purchase order. Of these, nine totaling almost $11,500 had purchase orders dated after the purchase was made. In addition, auditors identified inconsistencies related to purchase approval documentation for the 16 purchases that were approved.

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.