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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency – Board Oversight (2015M-33)


Released: September 11, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the IDA’s process for approving, monitoring and reporting projects for the period January 1, 2013 through June 12, 2014.

Background

The Tompkins County Industrial Development Agency is an independent public benefit corporation created under New York State General Municipal Law. The IDA is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors that is appointed by the County and includes four members that are County Legislators.

Key Findings

  • Because the TCIDA does not employ any staff, they hired the Tompkins County Area Development (TCAD), a not-for-profit development organization, to perform all TCIDA’s administrative and financial services based on a memorandum of understanding between the two entities.
  • Although the Board approved the IDA projects submitted to it, the Board did not provide adequate oversight during its project approval process. Therefore, the Board could not be certain if TCAD staff submitted all IDA projects for its approval and projects could have been given IDA benefits without its knowledge.
  • Although, three businesses did not meet their job creation goals, the Board did not formally document its decision not to recapture benefits.

Key Recommendations

  • Discontinue allowing TCAD staff to perform discretionary functions and establish a process to carefully oversee TCAD’s performance of ministerial functions.
  • Establish a process to ensure that the Board is approving all financial assistance for projects and all project-related agreements.
  • Document its determination of whether financial assistance should be recaptured from those business that fall short of performance goals in compliance with TCIDA’s recapture policy.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236