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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Union – Financial Condition (2016M-192)


Released: August 12, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The objective of our audit was to evaluate the Town’s financial condition for the period January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015.

Background

The Town of Union is located in Broome County. The Town, which has approximately 55,000 residents, is governed by an elected five-member Town Board. Budgeted appropriations for the Town’s 2016 general town-wide, water and sewer funds totaled approximately $4.9 million.

Key Findings

  • 157 of 187 water meters the Town is billed for are older than five years, and Village officials found that the old meters they tested failed to record 50-70 percent of water flows.
  • By not replacing the old inaccurate meters, users with accurate meters have to pay higher rates for water to help subsidize residents with meters that only register half of their use. Additionally, rates are too low to allow the fund to break even, which results in taxpayer inequity, as the water fund is subsidized by the part-town general fund.
  • At the end of 2015, the water and sewer funds owed a combined $730,000 to the part-town general fund.

Key Recommendations

  • Create a schedule for replacing old or inaccurate meters or both.
  • Ensure that the Town bills for all water and sewer services based on accurate meter flows and set rates sufficient to cover operating expenditures.
  • Develop a plan to repay amounts borrowed from the part-town general fund.

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