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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

City of Ithaca – Financial Operations (2011M-194)


Released: May 11, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review selected cash receipts processes and cash disbursements for the period January 1, 2010 to April 14, 2011.

Background

The City of Ithaca has approximately 30,000 residents and is located within Tompkins County. The ten-member Common Council is the City's legislative branch. The Mayor is the City's chief executive officer and the Controller is in charge of administering the City's fiscal affairs. The City's 2011 general fund budget totaled $49.2 million and was funded primarily by property taxes, sales tax and State aid.

Key Findings

  • The Chamberlain cannot be sure that all moneys owed to the City are collected and deposited. Certain revenue is not reconciled to available supporting documentation, adjustments are made without review or in some cases without supporting documentation, and cash receipts are voided without explanations. For example, nine of the 30 parking ticket adjustments we reviewed, totaling $135, lacked support showing the reason for the adjustment.
  • The Chamberlain did not maintain sufficient information to verify that all money was collected and deposited for parking tickets, parking permits and trash tags. Although annual revenues from the parking garages total more than $500,000 and more than $200,000 from the golf course, no one verifies that all moneys due are collected and remitted to the Chamberlain.
  • The Controller did not approve all payments made by check. The Chamberlain paid 1,700 claims, totaling $86.5 million, even though they were not listed on a warrant.

Key Recommendations

  • Require Department heads to submit adequate support to the Chamberlain's office regarding moneys collected or adjustments made such as voids or refunds.
  • Require the Chamberlain to maintain sufficient information so that someone can verify that all parking tickets issued are accounted for and that all money is properly collected and deposited. Require the Chamberlain to track parking permit cards and trash tags and account for them as issued and paid for, or still in the City's inventory to help ensure all money is collected and deposited.
  • Pay claims listed on warrants only after they have been audited and approved by the Controller.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236