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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

January 9, 2018

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Aurora-Colden Fire District No. 6, Columbia-Green Community College, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, Town of Dannemora, East Islip Public Library, County of Franklin Solid Waste Management Authority, Town of Greece, Johnsonville Fire District, Town of Nanticoke, Town of Marbletown, Municipal Parking Structures, City of Sherrill, Walden Fire District #2 and the West Niles Fire Company.

"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."

Aurora-Colden Fire District No. 6 – Financial Activity (Erie County)

Officials generally provide adequate oversight to ensure financial activity is properly recorded and district money is safeguarded. The district, however, did not solicit competition, or retain evidence of soliciting competition, for 97 purchases totaling $171,013 that were subject to its purchasing policy.

Columbia-Greene Community College – Information Technology (2017M-213)

The board has not adopted comprehensive written procedures for managing system access. The college did not adopt a breach notification policy and has never tested its disaster recovery plan; therefore, information may not be adequately safeguarded.

Village of Croton-on-Hudson – Payroll (Westchester County)

Auditors found that timesheets did not have employees' signatures or show actual hours worked. Payroll records for the Department of Public Works revealed five employees were overpaid a total of $902. In addition, the village under-budgeted for overtime in the 2016-17 fiscal year by $284,608 or 43 percent.

Town of Dannemora – Part-Town Activities (Clinton County)

The town's accounting records did not include a part-town (PT) general fund. General fund PT revenues and expenditures were not properly allocated. As a result, the town unnecessarily taxed town residents residing within the village which subsequently lowered tax rates for town residents living outside of the village.

East Islip Public Library – Cash Receipts (Suffolk County)

Cash was not always properly collected or deposited in a timely manner. Library staff did not issue adequate receipts for all collections and did not properly account for attraction tickets purchased in bulk and sold at a discount to cardholders. The library's account clerk performed incompatible financial duties.

County of Franklin Solid Waste Management Authority – Solid Waste and Recycling Charges and Host Community Fees (2016M-418)

Officials had not established adequate procedures over solid waste and recycling charges to ensure customers were accurately charged and the corresponding amounts collected were deposited in a timely manner. Auditors found customers were charged varying rates for disposal of the same type of waste.

Town of Greece – Information Technology (Monroe County)

Town officials did not adopt a comprehensive online banking policy or adequately segregate online banking duties. In addition, the board did not adopt a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. As a result, the town has an increased risk that its IT data and components may be lost or misused and that the town will be unable to resume critical operations if a system failure occurs.

Johnsonville Fire District – Claims Processing (Rensselaer County)

Except for minor exceptions which we discussed with district officials, all of the claims reviewed by auditors were supported by sufficient documentation and for appropriate purposes.

Town of Nanticoke – Financial Condition Management (Broome County)

The town board did not effectively manage fund balance. From 2014 through 2016, budgeted appropriations exceeded expenditures, resulting in the accumulation of excess fund balance in the general fund. As of Dec.31, 2016, the fund balance in the general fund had increased 75 percent, to over $482,000, from approximately $275,000 in 2014. The board has not developed a fund balance policy or comprehensive multiyear financial and capital plans specifying the town's objectives and goals for using the accumulated funds.

Town of Marbletown – Financial and Capital Planning (Ulster County)

The board does not have a comprehensive multiyear financial and capital plan or reserve policy to address the town's operational and capital needs, including the replacement of vehicles and equipment, infrastructure or the aging highway garage. The board also has not adopted an adequate fund balance policy, which resulted in the town accumulating excessive fund balance in the general fund. 

Municipal Parking Structures (2017MS-3)

The local governments reviewed have varying processes in place to inspect and monitor their parking structures. Although available reports indicate that the structures do not have any urgent repair needs, most units could improve their internal controls over parking structures and elevators. For example, the lack of periodic inspections has resulted in three Buffalo, two White Plains and possibly two Ithaca parking structures not having inspections conducted by structural engineers within the last 10 years.

City of Sherrill – Payroll and Community Activity Center Cash Receipts (Oneida County)

City officials accurately paid employees' salaries and wages. However, officials need to improve controls over payroll preparation and processing. There is no independent certification of payroll prior to the distribution of payroll checks. In addition, city officials have not formalized policies and procedures over the community activity center's cash collections.

Walden Fire District #2 – Purchasing (Erie County)

District officials did not obtain quotes in accordance with the district's procurement policy during the audit period for 27 purchases totaling $77,044.

West Niles Fire Company – Financial Activities (Cayuga County)

The board has not established written policies and procedures for cash receipts, cash disbursements and fundraising activities or adopted a code of ethics to guide officers and members regarding expected standards of conduct, as required. Additionally, the bylaws provide limited guidance on the board's responsibilities and the company treasurer's duties.

For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 140,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created to promote transparency in government and provide taxpayers with better access to financial data.