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April 12, 2024

Local government and school audits issued during the week ending April 12, 2024

On April 11, 2024 New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following local government and school audits were issued.

 

Village of Corinth – Investment Program (Saratoga County)

Village officials did not develop and manage a comprehensive investment program. During the 12-month audit period, the village earned $1,516 from money on deposit in its two checking accounts, which had an average monthly available balance of $4.8 million. Had officials considered other legally permissible investment options, the village may have earned an additional $148,755 in interest earnings. Village officials did not: solicit interest rate quotes or prepare monthly cash flow forecasts, or; consider other legally authorized investment options when investing available funds. 

 

Town of Glen – Water and Sewer Operations (Montgomery County)

Town officials did not properly manage water and sewer fund financial operations. The board did not adopt the water and sewer rates that were charged to customers or audit the clerk’s records and water and sewer bills and meter readings were not independently reviewed for accuracy. As a result, officials and customers have no assurance that water and sewer bills and account balances are accurate. Of the 306 bills reviewed, 73 (24%) were inaccurate. The clerk also made 12 unsupported adjustments totaling $1,981 to four customer accounts without any review or approval and the bookkeeper did not record amounts billed totaling $592,956 for water and sewer services in the accounting records and sewer revenue was overstated by $152,023 as of Dec. 31, 2022.

 

Village of Hunter – Financial Operations (Greene County)

The board and clerk-treasurer did not properly manage village financial operations. The board did not: ensure board actions were captured in the village record and transparent to the public; establish controls to address the lack of segregation of the clerk-treasurer’s duties; provide oversight of the clerk-treasurer’s payroll, or; perform required annual audits of the clerk-treasurer’s reports and records. Auditors found the clerk-treasurer did not: prepare or maintain board meeting minutes; maintain supporting documentation for deposits; prepare abstracts for payment of claims; make timely deposits, or; file annual financial reports with the Office of the State Comptroller. The clerk-treasurer also was paid $34,988 without support or approval over a two-year period for overtime ($32,462) and unused leave time ($2,526).

 

Town of LaGrange – Financial Management (Dutchess County)

The board did not develop a multiyear financial plan or manage general fund balance in accordance with town policy. As of Dec. 31, 2022, the general unassigned fund balance was $3.3 million, or 51% of the ensuing year’s budgeted appropriations, which exceeded the town’s fund balance policy limit by more than $725,000. As a result, it is difficult for the board to assess alternative approaches to financial needs without a multiyear financial plan and more taxes may have been levied than necessary.

 

Newcomb Central School District – Claims Audit (Essex County)

District claims were not properly audited in accordance with New York State Education Law prior to payment. Auditors reviewed 90 claims totaling $1.3 million and determined the board of education did not ensure 60 claims totaling $1.2 million were audited and approved before payment. Because claims were not properly audited, there is an increased risk that improper or unsupported payments could have been made and may not be detected and corrected.

 

Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District – Board Oversight  

The board did not effectively manage grants or ensure that authorized disbursements were supported and for appropriate purposes. As a result, district officials made overpayments, unsupported payments and unnecessary payments at taxpayers’ expense. Specifically, officials overpaid landowners a total of $174,950 for six grants resulting in an inappropriate use of local taxpayer money. They also made 49 disbursements totaling $145,876 without adequate support (out of 63 disbursements reviewed totaling $154,080) and paid $11,630 in unnecessary payments, including excess tree purchases, late fees, interest, unused cell phone accounts, sales tax and lease payments for a copier that had been replaced. Officials also paid employees for unsupported leave payments totaling $8,860 and made an unallowed payment totaling $1,192.

 

Putnam County Court and Trust

Auditors reviewed the commissioner’s, county clerk’s and surrogate’s court’s processes, procedures and records for the receipt and management of court and trust funds as well as estates in the commissioner’s custody. The records maintained by the commissioner, county clerk and surrogate’s court were generally up to date and complete, and auditors noted no material discrepancies.

 

Tioga County – Social Service Contracts  

While department officials generally monitored contracts through reviewing agency reports, in-person meetings with agency staff and firsthand observation of services, they could improve contract monitoring. Three of the 10 contracts reviewed, totaling $344,210, did not meet contract terms. Officials were either unaware that the agencies did not achieve contract terms or were aware and allowed the contract to continue without termination. In addition, agency records were not always complete, and seven contracts were executed, on average, 34 days after services commenced. As a result, performance measures were not always met, and the impact of services intended to improve the well-being of residents was reduced.

 

Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) – Meals Provided at Meetings  

BOCES officials did not adequately support meals provided at meetings were appropriate, which increased the risk that BOCES may have paid for unnecessary meals. Auditors reviewed payments for meals totaling $63,009 provided at 80 meetings. Officials did not document the need for meals totaling $62,357 (99%) provided at 79 meetings and also did not document who attended 39 meetings at which payments totaling $28,446 (45%) were made for meals. The superintendent/designee did not document prior approval for meals totaling $31,991 (51%) provided at 29 meetings. Officials paid $6,772 more than federal per diem rates for meals provided at 34 meetings.

 

Western Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) – Clerical Overtime (Suffolk County)

BOCES officials did not appropriately monitor and approve overtime for clerical employees. As a result, officials may have paid more overtime than necessary. Officials paid 17 employees overtime totaling $123,276 without written preapproval and paid 13 employees overtime totaling $72,218, without any explanation as to why the overtime was worked. Additionally, officials paid 13 employees for unsupported overtime totaling $19,932.

 

Wyandanch Union Free School District – Budget Review (Suffolk County)

Auditors found that the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable. The district’s proposed budget includes approximately $10.9 million in health insurance appropriations; this appropriation is $1.5 million, or 17%, more than the $9.4 million projected expenditure for 2023-24. The district’s proposed budget includes approximately $1 million in New York State and Local Retirement System appropriations, which is approximately $414,000, or 70%, more than the $590,000 projected expenditure for 2023-24. The district’s proposed budget complies with the tax levy limit. 

 

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