New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Town of Binghamton, Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, Liverpool Public Library, Monroe County, Village of Nelliston and Town of Plattsburgh.
"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 adopted insufficient credit card and meal reimbursement policies and did not enforce the procurement policy. The March 2017 credit card bill included a $288 charge for the supervisor's personal cable bill. In May 2018, during our audit, the supervisor reimbursed the town for this personal credit card charge. Auditors also found 11 purchases totaling over $6,600 that did not have the required purchase orders.
Although the board annually adopted energy program guidelines establishing rates and eligibility criteria, management did not implement procedures to ensure that all rebates and credits were accurately processed. Twenty-six applications for energy rebates totaling $127,000 did not have sufficient technical documentation attached and 25 totaling $150,876 did not have required documentation to clearly identify the type and/or quantity of materials purchased.
Although the board received monthly budget-to-actual reports, it did not request or review monthly cash flow reports. As a result, the board has limited means of knowing whether transactions are properly recorded. Also, employee compensatory time and vacation leave was not always accrued and paid in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement.
The county's financial position has been strained for several years. Auditors project that the county will end 2018 in a similar position based on the four-year trend and information available at the completion of the audit. However, the county's financial condition has improved slightly over the audit period as evidenced by the gradual decreases in the amounts of annual short-term debt and inter-fund advances used to address cash flow shortages. The county does not have sufficient general fund balance to mitigate significant revenue shortages or unanticipated expenditures.
Payroll duties were not adequately segregated due to the village's limited staff. Also, the board does not collectively set and approve pay rates and salaries for part-time employees and the superintendent. In addition, the clerk did not withhold health insurance contributions totaling $5,392 from the superintendent's pay for the period March 2016 through February 2018.
The town granted a total of 1,421 agricultural, veteran and senior citizen exemptions on the 2017 assessment roll, collectively reducing the taxable assessed values for the town, county and school districts by a combined total of more than $86 million. Of the 167 granted exemptions reviewed totaling $13.3 million, 54 of the exemptions, valued at more than $6.6 million, lacked one or more pieces of supporting documentation to verify its eligibility for exemption.
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