Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
Real Estate Portfolio


Issued: March 27, 2014
Link to full audit report 2012-S-36
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has accounted for all of its real estate holdings, established a value for those holdings, and determined the need to either hold or dispose of properties, and whether the Authority has disposed of real property on terms beneficial to the State. The audit covers the period January 1, 2010 through October 24, 2012.

Background
The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (Authority) oversees bus and rail services in Niagara and Erie counties. Public Authorities Law Section 2896 requires each public authority to maintain adequate inventory controls for its property and report annually on all property held. It also requires authorities to transfer or dispose of unneeded excess property as promptly as possible. The Authority reports it owned 63 properties as of March 31, 2012.

Key Findings

  • The Authority has not accounted for all of its property holdings. Specifically, the Authority's property reports significantly understate its holdings.
  • The Authority has not established a current market value for its property holdings.
  • The Authority does not document the needs assessment it conducts to determine whether to hold or dispose of its property holdings. In some cases, it has held onto unneeded parcels for many years, including valuable waterfront property.
  • The Authority could improve its procedures to better ensure it obtains fair market value when leasing properties.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure annual property reports include all Authority properties.
  • Estimate and record current market values for all property holdings.
  • Adhere to set timelines for disposing of all unneeded property holdings.
  • Establish procedures that define the specific steps for setting lease and license rates for using Authority property.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Real Estate Portfolio (2009-S-10)
Metropolitan Transportation Authority: Real Estate Portfolio (2011-F-30)
Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority: Real Estate Portfolio (2012-S-90)
Capital District Transportation Authority: Real Estate Portfolio (2012-S-91)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236