New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following municipal and school district audits were issued during the week ending February 5, 2021.
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The assessor did not properly administer select real property tax exemptions. Granted property exemptions were not always properly applied for or supported. Of the 99 property tax exemptions that auditors reviewed, 75 of the exemptions totaling over $4.1 million were not properly applied for or supported. Property owners received $4,014 in 2019 town tax reductions for these unsupported exemptions.
The board did not establish adequate controls or provide adequate fiscal oversight of the treasurer. As a result, district assets were not safeguarded. The board did not adequately monitor fiscal operations and properly document disbursement approvals. The board also did not conduct required audits or adopt a procurement policy, investment policy or code of ethics, as required. Although the treasurer’s financial records and reports that auditors reviewed were accurate, and financial transactions were appropriate and properly accounted for, the treasurer performed all financial duties, including receiving and disbursing cash, signing district checks and maintaining the accounting records, with no oversight.
SCHOOL DISTRICT AUDITS
School district officials did not maximize interest earnings. During the audit period, the district’s interest earnings totaled $72,555, but the district could have earned another $367,963 if officials invested available funds in a financial institution that offered higher interest rates. Business officials did not develop and manage a comprehensive investment program or comply with the district’s board of education’s investment policy. District officials should solicit interest rate quotes to maximize interest earnings and prepare monthly cash flow forecasts.