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June 13, 2013

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Village of Belle Terre, Town of Callicoon, Town of Gardiner, Town of New Berlin, Village of Nichols, Town of Pittsfield and the Sylvan Beach Fire 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."

Village of Belle Terre –Audit of Claims (Suffolk County)
Auditors found the village board conducts a thorough and deliberate audit of claims before payments are authorized in order to ensure that village funds are being spent efficiently.  Claims were presented in a uniform and organized manner and properly recorded and supported with appropriate documentation.

Town of Callicoon –Cash Receipts and Disbursements (Sullivan County)
The town supervisor does not provide sufficient oversight of the town bookkeeper and does not ensure that all moneys received are recorded accurately and deposited in a town bank account. This increases the risk that employee errors and irregularities may occur and not be detected and corrected and/or that town moneys could be wasted.

Town of Gardiner –Selected Financial Activities (Ulster County)
Internal controls over cash receipts and disbursements were not appropriately designed or operating effectively. The bookkeeper’s cash receipt and disbursement duties were not adequately segregated and town officials have not established compensating controls such as a periodic review of accounting records or bank statements. Town officials have not ensured that accounting records are accurate, complete and up-to-date.

Town of New Berlin –Ambulance Company Loan (Chenango County)
The town board authorized the payment of $125,000 toward two loans to a private, not-for-profit ambulance company using a “revolving loan fund”that was established with grant monies from federal HUD programs. Because the propriety of the use of these funds is governed by federal, not state law, the issued has been referred to HUD for its consideration.

Village of Nichols –Financial Condition (Tioga County)
From 2007 through 2012, auditors found the village had unforeseen expenditures of $89,500 for increased water costs and major flood damage. The village was able to avoid fiscal instability because it received approximately $120,000 in unanticipated revenues, which included $50,064 in federal and state aid for the reimbursement of emergency disaster work due to the flooding.

Town of Pittsfield –Disbursements (Otsego County)
The town board did not provide adequate oversight of non-payroll disbursements and did not provide for a detailed audit of the town supervisor’s records for the 2011 fiscal year. While reviewing town expenditures, auditors found 17 discrepancies totaling $8,450, including 10 checks totaling $6,900 that were never approved by the board. In addition, the town highway superintendent was underpaid by more than $2,300 for his health insurance buy-out in the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years.

Sylvan Beach Fire District –Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Oneida County)
The district board should improve its oversight of district financial activities. The board did not ensure that the secretary-treasurer maintained complete and accurate financial information in order to provide the financial information necessary to develop accurate budgets and to properly monitor the district’s operations. In addition, the board did not properly audit claims and ensure that payroll procedures and payments were appropriate.

 

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For access to state and local government spending and more than 60,000 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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