January 9, 2021

Municipal and school district audits released during the week ending January 9, 2021

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced that the following local government and school district audits were issued during the week ending January 9, 2021.

Click on the text highlighted in color to access the complete audit report

Local Government Audits

Citizens Hose Company – Board Oversight of Financial Operations (Ontario County) Auditors determined Citizens Hose Company did not have adequate controls in place to ensure that company funds were safeguarded. The company’s bylaws were insufficient because they did not provide detailed guidance for the treasurer or audit committee when collecting and depositing funds, recording cash receipts and disbursements and paying company bills. In addition, the treasurer misappropriated more than $20,000 of company funds. The company secretary also inappropriately used a company credit card for personal purchases of at least $1,100 without detection by officials. As a result of the audit, the former Citizens Hose Fire Company treasurer, pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny and was ordered to repay restitution.

City of Gloversville – City Clerk (Fulton County)Auditors found the former clerk did not properly account for fees. The former clerk waived fees for 249 certified copies of birth certificates totaling $2,490 without a valid reason. The former clerk also did not deposit all fees intact and substituted checks and money orders for cash collections. Auditors did determine that the current clerk was acting properly and accounting for fees as of Oct.1, 2017.

Ethics Oversight (Statewide Unit) This multi-unit audit included 20 individual audits including: 8 Counties: Albany, Chautauqua, Chemung, Genesee, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Suffolk and Tompkins; 8 Towns: Clay, Colonie, Greece, Oyster Bay, Ramapo, Southampton, Tonawanda and Union; and 4 Cities: New Rochelle, Rochester, Troy and Utica. Local governments must comply with New York State General Municipal Law (GML) and should do more to ensure proper ethics oversight.

Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Board of Cooperative Services (Oneida County, Herkimer County and Madison County) Oneida-Herkimer-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) officials did not regularly provide formalized information technology (IT) security awareness training. BOCES officials also did not assess computer usage to confirm IT assets were used for appropriate purposes or establish adequate controls to safeguard information contained in the network and financial system. Personal internet use was found on computers. In addition, network and application user accounts were not properly managed. Auditors also determined no disaster recovery plan was developed. Sensitive IT control weaknesses were communicated confidentially to BOCES officials.

Village of Monticello – Financial Condition (Sullivan County) The board did not adequately manage the village’s financial condition. As a result, the village is fiscally stressed. Auditors determined the village’s total fund balance will likely be fully depleted at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year. The village also has exhausted nearly 100 percent of its constitutional tax limit. In addition, the village has significant infrastructure needs that it lacks the funds to address.

Village of Monticello – Records and Reports (Sullivan County) Auditors determined the treasurer did not maintain accurate, complete and timely accounting records or properly reconcile bank accounts in a timely manner. About $5 million of real property tax revenue was not posted to the accounting records. Bank reconciliations were generally performed two to three months after the statement date. In addition, periodic financial reports were not prepared for the board of trustees or department heads. Annual Update Documents, which are required annual financial reports, constitutional tax limit forms and adopted budgets were not filed in a timely manner, with some filed typically over 200 days late.

School DistrictAudits

Alexandria Central School District – Financial Condition Management (Jefferson County and St. Lawrence County) The district’s budgeted appropriations from 2016-17 through 2018-19 exceeded actual expenditures by $844,261, or 6.4 percent and the district did not need to use most of the appropriated fund balance for operations. The surplus fund balance in the general fund exceeded the 4 percent statutory limit for the past three fiscal years. As of June 30, 2019, surplus fund balance was $1.75 million, or 12.8 percent of the next year’s budget. In addition, district officials have not developed a long-term financial plan or a comprehensive reserve fund policy. Officials also did not implement the recommendations in a prior audit released in March 2016. This audit contains similar findings and recommendations.

Prattsburgh Central School District – Financial Management (Steuben County and Yates County) The board and district officials’ actions to manage financial condition were not transparent and more taxes were levied than necessary to fund operations. The board also appropriated fund balance totaling $1.13 million for fiscal years 2016-17 through 2018-19 but none of the money was used or needed to fund operations. For the last three fiscal years, the district reported that it exceeded the 4 percent statutory surplus fund balance limit, however when unused appropriated fund balance is added back, surplus fund balance exceeded the limit between 11 and 15 percentage points. In addition, the board did not develop written multiyear financial and capital plans.

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