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August 30, 2012


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the City of Cortland, City of Ithaca, Village of Patchogue, Riverhead Fire District and the Sherrill-Kenwood Water District.

"My office's audits of local governments improve their financial management practices," DiNapoli said. "These audits are tools for local officials to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect taxpayer dollars and provide the best possible service these taxpayer dollars can deliver."

City of Cortland – Financial Condition – Follow Up Audit (Cortland County)
Of the six previous audit recommendations, four recommendations were implemented and three recommendations were partially implemented.

City of Cortland – Internal Controls – Follow Up Audit (Cortland County)
Of the nine previous audit recommendations, two recommendations were implemented, four recommendations were partially implemented and three recommendations were not implemented.

City of Ithaca – Departmental Operations (Tompkins County)
Auditors found up to $739,000 in potential cost savings for the city in the areas of debt issuance, police department overtime, use of the centralized garage and the refuse fund. City officials have incurred, or expect to incur, avoidable expenditures for interest payments totaling $313,000 on debt that was longer than the items' useful lives. The city could save $234,000 per year in police department overtime costs by hiring new officers. Further, the fire and police departments are paying, on average, up to $66,000 per year more for vehicle maintenance services than necessary.

Village of Patchogue – Selected Financial Activities and Information Technology (Suffolk County)
The village board did not properly authorize all capital projects, nor did it effectively monitor them. As a result, the village had $284,808 in unauthorized expenditures and experienced cost overruns in two of the five projects reviewed by auditors. In addition, the village issued debt to reimburse the general fund for capital expenditures totaling $549,015, in violation of the local finance law. Finally, the board has not established policies and procedures relating to the security of data and assets.

Riverhead Fire District – Internal Controls Over Professional Services and Information Technology (Suffolk County)
The district board did not develop adequate procedures for the procurement of professional services. As a result, district officials did not solicit competitive proposals for any of the nine professionals tested, who were paid a total of $787,697. In addition, the board has not adopted a computer use policy or a breach notification policy, and four individuals have access rights to perform duties that are incompatible with their job duties.

Sherrill-Kenwood Water District – Board Oversight (Oneida County)
The water district does not fully segregate duties related to the billing and collection of water rents. The district's procedures do not provide for individual accountability for rent collections because the three clerks who collect cash use the same cash drawer and the same user name and password in the computerized financial system. Finally, the board did not receive monthly reports to monitor the district's financial activity and condition, and did not require an annual audit of the secretary's records and reports.



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