New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Town of Franklin, Fulton Public Library, City of Hornell, Lima Public Library, Newark Housing Authority, City of Olean, Town of Sharon and Westchester County.
"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."
Since 2014, the town-outside-village highway fund balance decreased by 59 percent to $87,500, or 13 percent of expenditures. The town supervisor did not provide the board with complete financial reports or file annual financial reports with the town clerk or OSC.
The board has not established written policies for cash receipts, and library officials have not established procedures to record all receipts at the time of collection and ensure individual accountability for all fines and fees received. Library officials could not determine whether deposits made during the audit period represented all receipts collected during that time frame. Library employees also waived about $21,000 in library fines, which represents about 75 percent of all fines levied during the period.
The council and city officials did not develop adequate information technology (IT) policies and procedures. City officials did not develop a disaster recovery plan nor did they provide IT security awareness training for city employees.
The board has not adopted a procurement policy and library officials do not require competitive quotes for purchases. Although the purchases reviewed in the audit were minor, the lack of a procurement policy increases the risk of the library acquiring goods and services at higher costs than necessary if larger purchases are made in the future.
The board did not adopt IT policies and procedures to address acceptable computer use, individual access rights, password security management and disaster recovery. Authority officials did not ensure that the network accounts for six former personnel had been deactivated.
The city currently faces pending litigation relating to the North Union Street capital project that may require additional funds of approximately $1.3 million, the city estimates, to cover projected costs. The city's proposed budget does not include any appropriations for these potential costs. Should the city require general fund money to cover unresolved capital expenditures, virtually all of the general fund's projected unrestricted fund balance would be depleted. The city did not implement the recommendations in a March 2017 budget review letter. In addition, the city has not implemented multiyear financial and capital plans.
From 2014 through 2017, town-wide and town-outside-village fund balances grew by 28 and 79 percent, respectively. Budgeted appropriations exceeded expenditures by an annual average of 19 percent and 31 percent, during the same time frame. Town officials have not developed multiyear financial or capital plans or a fund balance policy.
The significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable. However, while the county budgeted $544.5 million in revenue for sales tax collections, auditors estimate total collections to be closer to $538.4 million.
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