On November 13, 2020, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following local government audits has been issued.
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Town of Decatur – Town Clerk (Otsego County) Auditors determined the town clerk did not issue duplicate receipts for any collections during the audit period which totaled $1,630. The clerk also did not report or remit any fees received to the supervisor or New York State Agriculture and Markets. In addition, the board did not conduct or cause an annual audit of the clerk’s records and reports.
Town of Decatur – Disbursement Oversight and Accounting Records and Reports (Otsego County)The board did not provide adequate oversight of the disbursement process and the supervisor did not maintain complete, accurate and timely accounting records and reports. The board also did not approve all claims. The board did not require adequate supporting documentation for all claims or annually audit, the supervisor’s records and reports. The 2018 general ledger was significantly incomplete and the 2019 general ledger had several accounts misclassified. In addition, the annual financial reports and tax cap forms were not filed, as required. As a result, the board was unaware that the 2019 levy significantly exceeded the cap and did not pass the required local law to override the cap.
Town of East Hampton - Budget Review (Suffolk County) Based on the results of our review, auditors found that the revenue and expenditure projections in the tentative budget are reasonable. The town’s 2021 tentative budget includes a proposed tax levy of $60,177,065.
City of Lockport – Budget Review (Niagara County) Based on the results of auditors’ review, the revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget appear reasonable. Auditors cautioned that evolving circumstances caused by the pandemic may require adjustments to the budget throughout the year. The proposed budget includes state aid and sales tax estimated revenues of $2.1 million and $5.5 million, respectively, which may not be attainable.
Town of Patterson – Justice Court Operations (Putnam County) Although the justices accurately collected, recorded and deposited fines and fees, they did not disburse or report all fines and fees in a timely and accurate manner. The justices also did not adequately account for bail, which led to them retaining $14,793 in bail funds that could not be identified by payee. The court clerks did not return unclaimed exonerated bail totaling $16,287 to the known payees or remit them to the town. In addition, 55 of 100 tickets reviewed were not reported or incorrectly reported to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or were not submitted to the DMV’s Scofflaw Program.
City of Troy – Budget Review (Rensselaer County) The significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable. The proposed budgeted revenues for state aid funding and traffic and parking ticket fines may not be fully realized. City officials project the general fund having an unassigned fund balance of approximately $3 million at the end of 2020 or the same amount as the recorded unassigned fund balance at the end of 2019. However, the 2019 amount of unassigned fund balance has not been verified.
SCHOOL DISTRICT AUDITS
Mount Pleasant Cottage Union Free School District – Procurement (Westchester County) District officials did not use a competitive process to procure goods and services. For example, auditors found that district officials paid a vendor $238,465 without documentation and they justified this was a valid exception to competitive bidding. They also did not issue requests for proposals for six of 10 professional services providers that were paid $416,367. In addition, district officials did not obtain quotes for 20 purchases totaling $150,293 out of 30 reviewed.
Newfane Central School District – Financial Management (Niagara County) The board and district officials can better manage fund balance and reserves. Auditors determined surplus fund balance exceeded the limit each year by $8.1 million to $9 million, or 26 to 28 percentage points, which exceeded the 4 percent statutory limit. In addition, $13.4 million was improperly restricted in two reserves: $12.6 million in the employee benefit accrued liability reserve and $800,000 in the debt service reserve.
Southern Cayuga Central School District – Financial Condition (Cayuga County and Tomkins County) The board underestimated revenues by an average of $141,038 and overestimated appropriations by an average of $1.3 million over the three completed years. As a result, the district generated large operating surpluses and did not use about $1.1 million in appropriated fund balance. As of June 30, 2019, recalculated surplus fund balance totaled almost $1.7 million and was 10.7 percent of 2018-19 expenditures. In addition, the board and district officials did not develop adequate multiyear financial and capital plans.