New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the audits listed below for New York State and New York City Departments and Agencies, Municipalities and School Districts were issued during the week ending July 29, 2022:
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School District Audits
On July 29, 2022, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following school district audits have been issued.
Bethlehem Central School District – In-School Internet Connectivity (Albany County) The district’s internet connectivity met the Federal Communications Commission’s recommended bandwidth of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) per 1,000 students, as guided by the New York State Education Department. When tested, the average wireless internet download speed was 142 Mbps.
Greater Amsterdam School District – Capital Project (Montgomery County) The board and district officials properly planned, authorized contracts, and accounted for the ongoing project. However, auditors found that while the business administrator maintained financial reports that documented the project’s budget-to-actual expenditures, she did not provide them to the board for review and the claims auditor did not audit and approve seven claims totaling $873,056 prior to payment.
Buffalo Collegiate Charter School – Credit Cards (Erie County) Credit card charges were not always properly approved or adequately supported. Without adequate support, officials could not demonstrate that all charges were for school purposes. Auditors reviewed 170 credit card charges totaling $128,070 and found supporting documentation, such as receipts, was not available for 66 charges totaling $23,376. The need or purpose was not documented for 72 charges totaling $50,989. The treasurer did not adequately review credit card charges in a timely manner. The treasurer reviewed credit card charges an average of 108 days after the credit card statement was paid. Auditors reviewed all 18 credit charges over $2,500 in our audit period totaling $70,337 and found no evidence that the treasurer pre-approved these charges as required by the policy.
Fabius-Pompey Central School District – Claims Auditing (Onondaga County) Auditors reviewed 100 claims totaling approximately $5.3 million and found that they were adequately documented and for appropriate purposes. However, the district needs to improve the claims audit process because some claims were not subject to an independent claims audit and some were not properly approved before they were paid. Twelve claims totaling approximately $3.3 million paid to the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) were inappropriately audited by a BOCES employee who functioned as the district’s claims auditor. The treasurer paid five claims totaling $11,692 without the required claims auditor’s certification and authorization.
Friendship Central School District – Fund Balance and Reserves (Allegany County) The board and district officials did not properly manage fund balance and reserves. As a result, real property taxes were higher than necessary. The board and district officials overestimated appropriations by a total of $2.3 million (8%) in the three fiscal years audited. This made it appear the district needed to use fund balance and reserves to close projected budget gaps. However, they were not used to fund operations. The board and district officials improperly restricted $246,000 in a debt reserve fund. The funds should be returned to the general fund. Officials also did not develop and adopt a comprehensive written multiyear financial plan. As a result, as of June 30, 2021, the recalculated surplus fund balance totaled $2.5 million, exceeding the statutory limit by 20 percentage points.
Palmyra-Macedon Central School District – In-School Internet Connectivity (Wayne County The district’s internet connectivity met the Federal Communications Commission’s recommended bandwidth of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) per 1,000 students, as guided by the New York State Education Department. When tested, the average wireless internet download speed was 232 Mbps, and the average ethernet cable internet download speed was 564 Mbps.
Unadilla Valley Central School District – Non-Resident Special Education Student Tuition (Otsego County) Officials did not establish nonresident tuition (NRT) rates for special education students in accordance with regulations. The district’s NRT rates exceeded the New York State Education Department’s maximum allowable rate during four of the past five school years. As a result, the district overcharged seven school districts by a total of $183,250.
Yorkshire-Pioneer Central School District – In-School Internet Connectivity (Cattaraugus County) The district’s Internet connectivity met the Federal Communications Commission’s recommended bandwidth of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) per 1,000 students, as guided by the New York State Education Department. When tested, the average wireless internet download speed was 134 Mbps and the average ethernet cable Internet download speed was 706 Mbps.
On July 29, 2022 New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following local government audits have been issued.
Town of Brookhaven Local Development Corporation – Project Approval and Monitoring (Suffolk County) The board did not properly approve and monitor projects and did not incorporate job creation and retention goals into each project’s resolution. Consequently, the board cannot determine whether the projects are meeting their intended purposes. While the board president, CEO and CFO questioned whether setting goals was practical, and said it was not legally required, the board should strive to ensure that town residents realize increased prosperity and economic benefit from the projects that the corporation approves. To do so, the board must establish measurable goals for all approved projects, monitor the projects to ensure these goals are met and establish written project approval and monitoring policies or procedures.
Livingston County Court and Trust (2022-C&T-4) Upon receiving notification of the impending review of court and trust funds, the treasurer and county clerk reconciled their records and found that the treasurer did not receive surplus money from a referee after the sale of foreclosed property on April 1, 2017, totaling $87,849. However, auditors were able to determine all money from the sale of the foreclosed property totaling $176,000 was paid directly to the lienholder. Auditors also found that the treasurer did not report all court and trust fund transactions as required. Specifically, the treasurer did not report surplus funds received and disbursed during 2017, totaling $23,461. Auditors found the records maintained by the county clerk and surrogate’s court were up to date and complete.
Utica Harbor Point Development Corporation – Budgeting and Board Oversight (Oneida County) The board and officials did not establish realistic budgets. Also, the board did not review periodic financial reports to monitor the budget and finances and did not establish a comprehensive written multiyear financial plan. The board adopted budgets that did not include realistic revenue and expense estimates, which caused funding gaps. As of Dec. 9, 2021, the corporation’s projected costs exceeded revenues by about $2.3 million. While the corporation received grant funds for two projects, officials relied on lines of credit (LOCs) to provide cash flow for several years. The corporation’s ability to pay off the LOCs is contingent on the sale of three properties, which officials plan to sell in 2022. However, the board has not developed alternative plans to satisfy the debt should the properties not sell.
Village of Bemus Point – Clerk-Treasurer (Chautauqua County) The clerk-treasurer did not properly deposit, record, report and disburse village funds and was arrested in February 2021 and charged with grand larceny, falsifying business records, forgery, and official misconduct. In December 2021, she pleaded guilty to petit larceny and paid restitution to the village. The board did not monitor the clerk-treasurer’s work, implement compensating controls, or audit the records as required. Specifically, the clerk-treasurer did not properly deposit, record or report taxes collected, issue duplicate receipts or maintain other adequate supporting documentation. The clerk-treasurer also did not file payroll tax reports or remit payments totaling $40,837 and, as a result, the village was assessed penalties and interest of $18,100.
Delaware County – Court and Trust Funds (2022-C&T-2) Auditors found the treasurer established adequate procedures, maintained appropriate records, and properly reported court and trust funds as prescribed by statute. Records maintained by the county clerk were generally up to date and complete and without any material discrepancies. Although the surrogate’s court clerk maintained copies of all court orders filed in her office, she did not make entries into a surrogate’s register to record money ordered to be paid into a court. As a result, the assets ordered to be paid into court and her records could not be used to verify that all court-ordered deposits had been properly received and deposited.
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