New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following audits and reports were issued during the week ending July 23, 2021
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District officials did not always use a competitive process to procure goods, services or professional services or ensure no conflicts of interest existed. Auditors found no competition was sought for professional services. Officials paid the 12 providers $388,628. In addition, required verbal or written quotes were not always obtained when goods and services were procured. Auditors also found 23 purchases totaling $129,696 reviewed required competition. Only one purchase totaling $2,076 was competitively procured. A Commissioner, employed by a company the district contracts with, did not disclose his company’s interests or abstain or recuse himself from approving claims and warrants. The district has been contracting with the company for about 10 years.
The board and officials did not properly approve and monitor projects or take action when goals were not met. Auditors found required annual financial disclosure statements that are meant to help identify conflicts of interest were not filed. Payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) billing and collections were not monitored or correctly allocated to affected taxing jurisdictions. In fact, 52 of 115 payments were late and late fees totaling $259,303 were not billed or collected. In addition, Nassau County received $375,914 more than it should have. These funds should have been paid to the City of Glen Cove, $75,039, and to the school district and library, $300,875. Tax exemptions disclosed in audited financial statements were overstated.
The board did not provide appropriate oversight and management of budgets and fund balance or ensure annual audits were completed. More real property taxes were assessed than necessary to fund operations each year. The board also failed to hold budget hearings before April 15 each year (from two to 11 days late) to discuss the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 budgets, and the budgets presented were not in the proper form, as required. Inaccurate budgeting led to underestimated revenues totaling $289,565 (19%) over these years. As of May 31, 2020, unassigned fund balance was $463,948, which is 78% of the 2020-21 appropriations. The Village has excess fund balance and the board did not adopt a fund balance policy.
The board did not effectively manage the district’s financial condition and presented budgets indicating the district needed to both increase real property taxes and use appropriated fund balance to close projected budget gaps. As a result, more real property taxes were levied than needed. The board also did not adopt realistic budgets from 2017 through 2021. As a result, fund balance increased to $4.4 million on December 31, 2020, which is excessive and enough to pay 41.5% of the District’s 2020 expenditures.
In addition, the board unnecessarily overrode the 2019 and 2020 tax cap. The 2021 tax cap override will likely be unnecessary because the 2021 budget overestimated appropriations by approximately $1.4 million, and the $1 million appropriated fund balance will likely not be used. The board did not adopt budgeting, fund balance or reserve policies or multiyear financial and capital plans.
The Supervisor did not maintain complete, accurate and timely financial records and reports, and the board did not ensure there were no prohibited conflicts of interest. Auditors found the supervisor did not provide the board with accurate financial reports and did not record deposits totaling $127,000, cash withdrawals totaling $199,000 and fund transfers totaling $874 in the accounting records. She also recorded one deposit for $25,000 twice. Auditors also found, the required 2016 through 2019 annual financial reports were not filed with the Office of State Comptroller, as required. As of May 5, 2021, the reports were late and remained unfiled. In addition, a board member had a prohibited interest in the contracts between the town and his auto parts businesses. The board did not comply with General Municipal Law by adopting a code of ethics and did not audit the supervisor’s records, as required..
SCHOOL DISTRICT AUDITS
District officials did not establish adequate controls over the district’s user accounts to prevent unauthorized use, access and/or loss. Officials did not monitor compliance with the district’s acceptable use policy. Officials also did not adequately manage network user accounts. Sensitive information technology control weaknesses were communicated confidentially to officials.
The board did not ensure that non-payroll disbursements were appropriately procured, properly audited and approved, adequately supported and for valid district purposes. The claims auditor did not audit and approve claims before payment as required.