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March 12, 2013

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Town of Columbus, Town of Hamlin, Village of Lydonville, Town of Mansfield, Town of Otselic and the Town of Pittstown.

“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 Columbus – Budget Development Practices (Chenango County)
The town board and supervisor did not develop sound budgets based on actual current needs and/or past activity. Instead, the adopted budgets included revenue estimates that were consistently less than revenues actually received, and expenditure estimates that were consistently more than actually spent. The adopted budget for 2013, however, is more closely based on realistic revenue and expenditure figures.

Town of Hamlin – Financial Oversight and Information Technology (Monroe County)
The town board did not establish internal controls that ensured the town’s financial activity was accurately recorded and reported. The board did not annually audit the records and reports of the supervisor, or other departments, audit all claims before they were paid, and had not established adequate controls over credit card use. Further, the board has not established adequate policies and procedures related to acceptable use, breach notification or disaster recovery.

Village of Lydonville – Leave Time Benefits and Information Technology (Orleans County)
The village board’s personnel policy did not clearly define terms and conditions regarding eligibility for accruing leave or the payment for unused leave. Auditors reviewed two former clerk-treasurers’ leave accruals and found the village overpaid these two individuals by $6,875 for unused leave time at the separation from service. Also, the board has not adopted written policies and procedures regarding the retention and safeguarding of electronic personal, private and sensitive information.

Town of Mansfield – Financial Management and Claims Processing (Cattaraugus County)
The town board adopted budgets using fund balance to reduce the tax levy with no systematic approach to ensure that appropriated amounts were available. As a result, both the general and highway funds experienced significant declines in fund balance from 2009 to 2011. Also, the board does not perform a proper review of claims. Auditors found certain claims lacked itemization and documentation to support that they comply with town policies and that they represent actual and necessary town expenses.

Town of Otselic – Selected Financial Operations (Chenango County)
The town board and supervisor did not meet their fiscal oversight responsibilities. Nearly every aspect of the town’s financial operations – including maintaining accounting records and reports, collecting community development loans, preparing and collecting water billings, performing the cash receipt and disbursement functions, and auditing claims – was weak and highly susceptible to errors and irregularities occurring without detection. As a result, most of the town’s assets are at significant risk of loss.

Town of Pittstown – Records and Reports (Rensselaer County)
The town supervisor did not maintain adequate accounting records or provide the town board with accurate financial reports. Auditors found the cash on the supervisor’s monthly reports did not agree with bank balances or accounting records for any of the 17 months reviewed, with differences ranging up to $300,000. The lack of adequate records, reports and annual audits makes it difficult for the town board to evaluate financial activities and can obscure the town’s true financial condition.



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