Selected reports issued by the Office of the State Comptroller during the week ending March 12, 2016
DiNapoli: Audit Finds NYC Needs to Improve Income Verification and Enforcement at Mitchell-Lama Housing
Some residents of Mitchell-Lama apartments in New York City make far more than the program’s maximum allowed incomes and pay a modest monthly surcharge as their only penalty, according to an audit released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The audit found the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development has not done enough to verify that residents are reporting their true income and are paying the correct surcharge when their income exceeds allowable limits.
Ardsley Union Free School District – Reserve Funds (Westchester County)
The district’s employee benefit accrued liability reserve exceeded the amount deemed necessary to pay employees for accrued and unused sick and vacation leave time when they leave district employment by almost $178,000. The district’s remaining reserve funds were funded at reasonable levels.
Babylon Union Free School District – Financial Condition (Suffolk County)
Over a four-year period, the district consistently overestimated appropriations and did not use 94 percent of appropriated fund balance, which allowed the district to circumvent the 4 percent statutory limit on unrestricted fund balance. In addition, the district did not have proper documentation for the establishment and use of three of its four reserve funds.
Berkshire Union Free School District – Financial Condition (Columbia County)
The district reported fund balance deficits for four consecutive fiscal years, in part, due to shortfalls in budgeted tuition revenue. To alleviate cash flow difficulties, officials issued revenue anticipation notes each of the past four fiscal years.
Cobleskill-Richmondville Central School District – Special Education Services (Schoharie County)
District officials provided cost effective special education services to its students and saved the district approximately $1.7 million in program and related services costs during 2014-15. The district also saved 13 other districts approximately $1.3 million during the same year as their authorized special education service provider.
East Meadow Union Free School District – Financial Condition (Nassau County)
The district overestimated expenditures by a total of approximately $29.4 million during fiscal years 2012-13 through 2014-15. The district used only 22 percent of its appropriated fund balance during this time frame. As a result, the district’s unrestricted fund balance has ranged between 5 and 6 percent of the ensuing year’s appropriations in each of the last three fiscal years, which exceeds statutory limits.
Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School District – Cafeteria Operations (Otsego County)
District officials have taken steps to effectively manage cafeteria operations by attempting to decrease expenditures and increase revenues. The district, however, did not perform a per-meal cost analysis to determine if lunch pricing is adequate.
Huntington Union Free School District – Financial Condition (Suffolk County)
From 2012-13 through 2014-15, total revenues exceeded expenditures by as much as $4.1 million and no amount of appropriated fund balance was used to finance operations. Because the district adopted budgets with overly conservative expenditure estimates, unassigned fund balance increased beyond the 4 percent statutory limit.
Ithaca City School District – Financial Condition (Tompkins County)
From fiscal years 2010-11 through 2014-15, the district increased its use of fund balance to support operating expenditures and total fund balance was reduced by $13.1 million, or 54 percent. Officials have since implemented a number of cost-saving measures to ensure the use of recurring revenues to support recurring expenditures.
Newfane Central School District – Financial Condition (Niagara County)
For fiscal years 2011-12 through 2014-15, the district annually appropriated more in fund balance than what was actually needed to fund operations. This practice allowed the district to circumvent the 4 percent statutory limit on unrestricted fund balance. In addition, the district overfunded two reserves by as much as $9.8 million.
Pleasantville Union Free School District – Financial Condition (Westchester County)
The district adopted budgets from 2010-11 through 2014-15 that overestimated expenditures and appropriated fund balance that was not used to fund operations. The district has not established a reserve fund policy stating how much would be set aside in each reserve, how each reserve would be funded or when each reserve would be used.
Poland Central School District – Procurement (Herkimer County)
District officials have established and implemented an effective system to ensure goods and services were purchased in accordance with the district’s procurement policy and applicable statutes.
Remsen Central School District – Fund Balances and Reserves (Oneida County)
Officials have not developed a reserve fund policy or multiyear financial and capital plans to help determine how the reserve funds fit into the district’s overall financial management strategy. The district has not used the more than $115,000 in the debt service fund to pay down debt.
Sullivan County Board of Cooperative Educational Services – Central Business Office Internal Controls (2015M-331)
District officials have established effective controls over cash disbursements and payroll, including segregating duties so that no individual controls all phases of a transaction. They also provide increased oversight by having independent staff review transactions for key business processes.
Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services – Energy Performance Contract (2015M-315)
The board entered into an energy performance contract that guarantees an energy cost savings of $4.1 million over the 18-year contract term. In year one of the contract, the district saved a total of $181,586. If the district maintains these savings each year, it will be on track to reach the contract goal.
Niagara County – Golf Course Financial Operations (2015M-308)
County officials did not establish accountability over golf course sales. Consequently, golf course sales were not all recorded in the electronic point of sale system, cash receipts were not always deposited in a timely manner and cash on hand was not properly safeguarded.
Orient Fire District – Cash Reserves and Credit Cards (Suffolk County)
The board did not exercise appropriate oversight or establish sound policies and procedures related to credit card usage and did not provide sufficient oversight of travel and meal expenditures. The treasurer paid credit card claims prior to board approval.
City of Salamanca – Selected Financial Activities (Chautauqua County)
The city council did not develop a long-term financial plan, long-term capital plan or require a cash flow analysis to monitor and assess reported revenues for reasonableness. The comptroller did not provide the council with cash flow analyses and did not submit casino revenue claims in a timely manner to the Seneca Nation. The comptroller did not enforce the collection of overdue property tax payments in a timely manner and did not follow tax enforcement procedures prescribed by law.
Town of Ticonderoga – Financial Records and Reports (Essex County)
The supervisor’s clerk did not maintain complete, accurate and timely accounting records and the supervisor did not provide sufficient oversight of the clerk’s accounting duties. The town’s accounting records did not agree with the amounts reported on its 2013 and 2014 annual financial reports.
Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority – Procurement (Oneida County)
The two procurement policies in effect during the audit period did not provide adequate guidance for purchases when competitive bidding was not required. Auditors found authority officials did not obtain required quotes for eight purchases totaling $140,737.