Comptroller Dinapoli releases municipal audits
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli office's periodically audits of local governments. The Comptroller said that the audits are designed to assist local officials make certain that “proper policies and procedures are in place to protect taxpayer dollars and provide the best possible service these taxpayer dollars can deliver."
The following audits were released on September 5, 2013 [click on heading to read the text of the audit]:
Claryville Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Sullivan County)
The fire district board has adopted a code of ethics, but it has not adopted an investment policy or a procurement policy. The board also has not ensured that procedures are in place for financial recording and reporting. As a result, although the district treasurer submitted monthly financial reports to the board, they were not complete because the treasurer had not reconciled cash and bank balances.
County of Cortland – Departmental Operations (2013M-157)
County officials are not ensuring that various departmental operations and functions are operating at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers. The sheriff’s office is understaffed and incurring an average of more than $500,000 in overtime annually. The county could save upwards of $177,000 a year depending on the number of additional officers hired in the jail and road patrol.
Town of Dover – Financial Activities (Dutchess County)
The town board did not have written procedures or guidelines to ensure proper review of claims and did not perform a deliberate audit of claims or require that claims include relevant documents. In addition, the board did not properly audit claims and failed to use competition when procuring professional services.
Town of Grafton – Internal Controls Over Claims Auditing (Rensselaer County)
The town board did not ensure that detailed claims audit procedures were in place to enable it to perform a proper and thorough audit in a timely manner. Although the town established informal procedures over the claims auditing process, officials should adopt a policy to ensure timely audits are conducted and that each claim approved is a legitimate town expenditure.
South Byron Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Genesee County)
The fire company has established a system of internal controls with appropriate procedures to ensure that financial activity is properly recorded and that company moneys are safeguarded. The company, however, does not have a formal policy governing the use of credit cards.
Village of Spencer – Financial Condition (Tioga County)
The village board did not ensure that the clerk-treasurer properly reported the village’s financial condition. Auditors found the clerk-treasurer submitted an annual financial report with less cash reported than the actual balance available; several expenditure lines were reported inaccurately; and the interim reports provided to the board were incomplete and did not include sufficient information to adequately monitor the village’s financial activities against the adopted budgets.
Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency – PILOT Program (2013M-161)
The Sullivan County IDA has established a Uniform Tax Exempt Policy for both general and specific-purpose projects. The policies are specific and clearly articulate project goals and abatement schedules. The project approval process includes in-depth cost-benefit analyses based on reasonable assumptions.
Village of Unadilla – Budgeting (Otsego County)
The village board consistently adopted budgets that included overestimated expenditures, underestimated revenues, and the appropriation of fund balance that was not available to finance operations. As of May 31, 2012, the village’s general fund balance was at a deficit of $56,633, after the planned use of $94,653 to finance operations. These budgeting practices caused major fluctuations in the unexpended surplus fund balance and demonstrate a lack of financial oversight by the board.
Village of Upper Brookville – Justice Court (Nassau County)
The court clerk maintained complete, accurate and timely monthly bank reconciliations and cash accountability reports. The village justices, however, did not establish adequate procedures to monitor the court clerk’s duties or review her work. The court clerk performed several key aspects of the court’s cash accounting functions with limited oversight.
Village of Westhampton Beach – Internal Controls Over Information Technology (Suffolk County)
Village officials have not developed formal information technology policies for user access. Auditors found generic user accounts on the village’s computer system and some users unnecessarily had administrative rights. As a result of these weaknesses, the village’s IT system and its data are subject to an increased risk of corruption, loss, or misuse.
White Lake Fire District – Budgeting Practices (Sullivan County)
The fire district board has not properly developed annual operating budgets. In three of the last five fiscal years, the district spent more money than it received. In addition, the board did not monitor budget performance or adjust the budgets to reflect actual expenditures as they occurred during the fiscal year.