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February 2, 2012


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Town of Avon, Village of Granville, Village of Hamilton, Village of Monticello and the Village of Port Jefferson.

"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."

Town of Avon – Internal Controls Over Cash Receipts and Disbursements (Livingston County)
The board did not establish adequate controls over cash receipts and disbursements. Specifically, the board did not design or implement effective policies and procedures to ensure that cash is properly safeguarded. Town officials did not segregate the duties for the collection, recording and depositing of receipts, or for the preparation and recording of disbursements and bank reconciliations. Neither the board nor the supervisor reviewed bank reconciliations prepared by an outside accounting firm. The supervisor did not monitor the firm’s financial duties, and the town's accounting records were held in a private business's offices in another town. The supervisor allows his confidential secretary to review and stamp his signature on disbursement checks prepared by the firm.

Village of Granville – Financial Management System (Washington County)
The village's financial management system presents certain risks; for example, the system does not allow the users to establish their own unique user IDs to access the system, and some of the financial reports generated by the system are not accurate.

Village of Hamilton – Financial Management and Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Madison County)
The village's budgeting practices in the general and water funds have resulted in the general fund having approximately $1.3 million of unreserved, unappropriated fund balance and the water fund having approximately $703,000. The board and village officials consistently overestimated expenditures and underestimated revenues over the last five years, which resulted in annual operating surpluses and increases in fund balance totaling $718,000 in the general fund and $275,000 in the water fund. Despite the surpluses, the board increased the village's real property tax levy by approximately $200,000 during the past five years. The board does not have non-payroll cash disbursement or claims processing policies in place. Village officials did not always comply with General Municipal Law when making purchases.

Village of Monticello – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Sullivan County)
Village employees made purchases totaling $10,000 without obtaining quotes required by the village's procurement policy, and they procured professional services totaling $553,000 without requesting proposals from multiple vendors. Village employees missed the opportunity to save $31,000 by obtaining the same prices that Sullivan County paid for copier paper and fuel and by obtaining computer support services from the county. Also, two board members – rather than the entire board – audited claims.  Auditors found 68 purchases that were made totaling $119,600 prior to submitting purchase orders, and that 11 purchase transfers were made totaling $28,500 without sufficient appropriations at the time.

Village of Port Jefferson – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Suffolk County)
The village paid $691,584 to 13 vendors without soliciting competitive bids and paid $811,496 to 10 professional service providers without the benefit of seeking competition. Furthermore, officials did not always execute written contracts. The board does not audit claims and has not appointed anyone else to do so. Auditors reviewed 15 claims and found all were paid without audit. The board also did not adopt written payroll policies and procedures, and it has not established a leave policy or entered into written agreements with appointed and supervisory employees. As a result, the value of the accumulated vacation, sick, and personal leave days was overstated by $190,849 because the leave records were not maintained in accordance with the contract. One employee would have received $29,252 for unauthorized vacation leave upon separation from service.



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