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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

May 22, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Broome County, Town of Charlton, Conesus No. 1 Fire District, Conesus Volunteer Fire Department, Town of Franklin, Genesee County Industrial Development Agency, Greenville Fire District, Town of Knox, City of Long Beach, Plymouth Volunteer Fire Department, Town of Richmondville, Village of Suffern and Ulster County.

“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.”

Broome County – Information Technology (2013M-351)
While the county does have certain information technology user policies, they have not adopted a breach notification policy or a disaster recovery plan. Auditors also found the county is not monitoring or enforcing its USB removable media policy.

Town of Charlton – Internal Controls Overbilled Receivables for Water Operations (Saratoga County)
In 2013, the board attempted to improve the segregation of duties over water billings and collections. Although there was an improvement, duties were not fully segregated and compensating controls were not established. For example, the water clerk is responsible for billing, collecting and recording the payments into the accounting records and can make adjustments to customer accounts without prior approval.

Conesus No. 1 Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Livingston County)
The district has not adopted policies or procedures for financial operations such as cash receipts and disbursements, claims processing and information technology. As a result, the board did not adequately segregate the treasurer’s duties or implement sufficient compensating controls.

Conesus Volunteer Fire Department – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Livingston County)
The treasurer maintained appropriate financial records, with the exception of bank reconciliations, and disbursements were generally for reasonable department expenditures. However, the board does not provide adequate oversight of department financial activities. The board has not required the treasurer to submit an annual report, conduct an annual audit or adopt an annual budget.

Town of Franklin – Financial Operations (Delaware County)
The town supervisor relied on the bookkeeper to perform most of the town’s financial duties without providing any oversight. The bookkeeper was solely responsible for receiving and disbursing town money as well as recording and reporting the town’s financial activity. Additionally, the supervisor has not filed the required annual financial report with the Office of State Comptroller since 2008.

Genesee County Industrial Development Agency – Project Approval and Monitoring (2014M-66)
The Industrial Development Agency was effective in its efforts to promote, develop, and assist in economic development projects in Genesee County. However, the board does not verify data provided by businesses applying for financial assistance or the annual reported data that is used to evaluate project performance. Without assurance that reported job numbers represent actual jobs created, the board cannot be sure that the community is receiving the expected benefits.

Greenville Fire District – Capital Reserve (Orange County)
The district’s budget included a total of $325,000 for funding the capital reserve for fiscal years 2010 through 2012. However, the reserve was consistently funded with amounts that exceeded the amounts budgeted for the three years. As of Dec. 31, 2012, the district accumulated over $1.2 million in five separate reserve funds.

Town of Knox – Internal Controls Over Payroll (Albany County)
The town’s internal controls over payroll and leave time were not properly designed or operating effectively. The board did not establish written policies and procedures for authorizing, processing and reporting payroll, including the verification, approval and monitoring of leave time. Auditors also found errors in the leave accrual records for employees and inadequate documentation of time worked.

City of Long Beach – Budget Review (Nassau County)
City officials plan to raise additional revenue from fee increases that have not yet been approved by the city council. Also, overtime salaries are budgeted at $2.2 million, despite such costs averaging over $2.9 million for the last five fiscal years. The city’s proposed budget complies with the property tax levy limit.

Plymouth Volunteer Fire Department – Missing Funds (Chenango County)
The board did not adequately safeguard the department’s money. The board did not develop and implement internal controls over its cash disbursement and receipt functions, ensure its bylaws were followed or perform annual audits of the treasurer’s financial records. As a result, the former treasurer misappropriated approximately $17,500 of department funds from February 2011 through August 2013.

Town of Richmondville – Administration of Grant Moneys (Schoharie County)
Officials did not properly administer all aspects of the Restore NY grant and Community Development Block Grant funds that were awarded to the town. The board failed to meet certain critical expectations regarding the application and screening process for awarding grant funds, including: protecting the town’s financial interests, monitoring the use of moneys awarded or auditing claims paid from grant proceeds.

Village of Suffern – Financial Condition (Rockland County)
From fiscal year 2008-09 through 2011-12, the board adopted unrealistic budgets that caused large deficits. While the general fund had its most severe deficit in its unexpended funds in 2008-09 totaling $674,575, the sewer fund experienced its most severe deficit in its unexpended funds in 2011-12 totaling $847,486. The water fund has had significant deficits in its unexpended funds in 2008-09 totaling $625,625 and $608,039 in 2011-12.

Ulster County – Financial Condition (2014M-27)
County officials monitored budgets and operations throughout the year, resulting in available surplus funds at the end of 2013 totaling $10.8 million. A review of the county’s proposed budget for 2014 found that the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the budget are reasonable. However, surplus funds are below 5 percent of the 2014 adopted budget, which is required by the county’s own policy.

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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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