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January 4, 2013


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Village of Barneveld, Brentwood Fire District, Town of Carlton, Town of Conewango, Town of Deposit, Village of Flower Hill, Village of Solvay, and the Village of Walton.

“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 Barneveld – Internal Controls Over Water Billings, Collections and the Water Filtration Project (Oneida County)
The village board did not segregate the duties of the clerk-treasurer, who was responsible for billing, collecting, recording and depositing water rents. Village officials also did not adequately plan, account for or monitor the water filtration capital project. As of January 2012, the project’s cost was approximately $108,000 more than the highest estimate. Also, village officials did not follow competitive procurement requirements which may have resulted in the village paying more than necessary to complete the project.

Brentwood Fire District – Board Oversight and Information Technology (Suffolk County)
The fire district board did not adopt sound budgeting practices when preparing and adopting the annual budget, which resulted in operating surpluses totaling nearly $5.2 million for the five-year period ending Dec. 31, 2011. Despite significant accumulated funds, fire district officials raised taxes 12 percent for 2012. Also, the district has not developed comprehensive IT policies and has not sufficiently addressed the security and safeguarding of IT resources, systems, and financial data.

Town of Carlton – Town Clerk and Justice Court Operations (Orleans County)
Town Justices did not provide adequate oversight of the court clerk’s incompatible financial duties. One town justice could not account for the difference that auditors found between his bank and book balances. Also, the town board has not performed the required annual audit of the records and reports of the justices.

Town of Conewango – Justice Court (Cattaraugus County)
The town board did not establish adequate controls over Justice Court operations. Specifically, auditors found a town justice did not complete adequate bank reconciliations and accountability analyses, deposit moneys collected intact and in a timely manner, or remit collections and reports in a timely manner. Further, the board did not conduct a required annual audit of the justice’s records.

Town of Deposit – Town Clerk Duties and Financial Condition (Delaware County)
The town board and town supervisor did not provide adequate oversight of the duties performed by the town clerk. The clerk collects and deposits all town moneys received and processes payroll with limited oversight. Further, town officials did not adequately manage the town’s financial condition. At the end of 2011, both the town highway and capital funds had negative fund balances totaling more than $144,000.

Village of Flower Hill – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Nassau County)
The village board has consistently adopted unreasonable budget estimates for revenues, expenditures and fund balance. Specifically, village officials prepared budgets that significantly underestimated revenues and overestimated expenses in each of the fiscal years from 2006-07 to 2010-11 for a combined total of $8.6 million in budget variances. Further, the village board has not established adequate controls over fringe benefits provided to board members.

Village of Solvay – Financial Management and Internal Controls Over the Claims Audit Process (Onondaga County)
The village’s unexpended surplus funds have declined to dangerously low levels. While the general fund balance has increased over the last few years, it is still very low, leaving an inadequate cushion for unforeseen financial circumstances. Also, the village board has not established policies and procedures to guide claims processing.

Village of Walton – Financial Operations (Delaware County)
Due to the lack of village board oversight, there is no assurance that all money received by the village is deposited and properly recorded, that disbursements are made for only proper village purposes, and that purchases are necessary. The board did not provide the village clerk-treasurer with sufficient guidance for compiling budget estimates for fiscal year 2012-13, thereby delaying the adoption of the budget until after the start of the fiscal year and precluding a public hearing.

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