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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

February 25, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Town of Clarence, Town of Clarkson, Village of Monticello, Orleans County, Village of Oxford, Town of Reading, Richmond Fire District, Rotterdam Princetown No. 5 Fire District, Town of Scio, Town of Sheridan and the Snyder Fire District.

“In today’s fiscal climate, budget transparency and accountability for our local communities is a top priority,” said DiNapoli. “By auditing municipal finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively.”

Town of Clarence – Controls Over Fuel and Vehicle Fleet Management (Erie County)
The town board did not ensure that fuel supplies in the parks department were adequately safeguarded and properly accounted for. In addition, the fuel monitoring system in the highway department is not being used to its fullest capabilities. The town paid nearly $2,000 more than necessary for unleaded fuel purchased by the parks department.

Town of Clarkson – Budgeting and Board Oversight (Monroe County)
The town board repeatedly adopted budgets with unrealistic estimates for revenues, expenditures and appropriated fund balance. These inaccurate budgets caused significant budget variances and resulted in fund balances that were not reduced at the levels represented to taxpayers in the adopted budgets.

Village of Monticello – Board Oversight (Sullivan County)
The board did not properly oversee village operations. Officials do not know the amount of cash available to fund operations, the amount owed to the village for real property taxes, or the village’s overall fiscal health. Auditors found that real property tax or utility payments and/or penalties totaling more than $40,000 were not collected, including six accounts belonging to village officials.

Orleans County – Court and Trust Funds (2014M-043)
The records maintained by the county clerk and surrogate’s court were generally up-to-date and complete, and there were no material discrepancies. The treasurer established adequate procedures, maintained appropriate records and properly reported the condition of court and trust funds to the Office of State Comptroller.

Village of Oxford – Justice Court Operations (Chenango County)
The village justices did not ensure that court moneys were accounted for properly. Auditors found numerous errors and irregularities, from adjudicating traffic tickets to recording, collection and deposit, and in reporting to the Justice Court Fund and the Department of Motor Vehicles. For example, $1,325 in collections was recorded with no corresponding deposits; 10 cases totaling $2,520 were reported to the DMV as paid, with no related records of receipt; and there was a $3,500 shortage in one court account.

Town of Reading – Financial Management (Schuyler County)
The town board has underestimated revenues in its town outside-village funds over the last three years totaling $186,968 in the general fund and $339,662 in the highway fund. The board also overestimated expenditures in its town outside-village funds. Because the board did not adopt accurate and realistic budgets, the town has accumulated excessive fund balances in the town outside-village funds.

Richmond Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Ontario County)
The fire district’s financial position has deteriorated over the last three years because the board has not adequately budgeted for expenditures. Specifically, the district’s fund balance has declined 74 percent from approximately $120,000 in 2010 to $30,000 in 2012 and available cash decreased from $131,000 to $24,000. These declines were largely due to unbudgeted and unforeseen repairs to the district’s equipment.

Rotterdam Princetown No. 5 Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Schenectady County)
The board has not established adequate policies and procedures to ensure that the treasurer prepares monthly bank reconciliations. While the board established some controls, they lacked some key components to ensure that financial activity was properly reported to safeguard district funds.

Town of Scio – Highway Fund Financial Condition and Records and Reports (Allegany County)
The town highway fund incurred a significant operating deficit in 2011 totaling more than $180,000 which resulted in deficit unexpended funds. The operating deficit was caused by substantial storm-related expenditures for which reimbursement was not received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency until 2012. Town officials issued revenue anticipation notes totaling $260,000 to provide the cash necessary to finance these projects.

Town of Sheridan – Cellular Phones (Chautauqua County)
The board did not adopt a policy governing the use of town-provided cell phones. Although the town established some controls to be reimbursed for the cost of cell phone services provided to certain individuals, it lacked a policy or contract stating what amount should be reimbursed, when payments are due and what is to be done if someone does not reimburse the town in a timely manner.

Snyder Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Erie County)
The board generally provides adequate oversight of district financial activities. However, the board did not annually review and update its procurement policy. The district spends $9,000 for natural gas and $13,000 for electricity annually, but did not solicit proposals for these purchases. Auditors estimate that the district could have saved approximately $4,000 had they obtained quotes for these purchases.

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For access to state and local government spending and nearly 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

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