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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

City of Salamanca – Selected Financial Activities (2015M-284)


Released: March 4, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review City officials’ financial management practices and the collection of overdue real property taxes and ambulance service charges for the period April 1, 2013 through September 10, 2015.

Background

The City of Salamanca is located almost entirely within the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation, in Cattaraugus County. The City, which has approximately 6,000 residents, is governed by a five-member City Council. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year total approximately $8.3 million.

Key Findings

  • The City does not have a fund balance policy or long-term financial or capital plans.
  • As of March 31, 2015, the City’s unrestricted fund balance totaled approximately 11 times the City’s annual property tax levy.
  • The Comptroller did not provide the Council with cash flow analyses and did not submit casino revenue claims in a timely manner to the Seneca Nation.
  • The Comptroller did not enforce the collection of overdue property tax payments in a timely manner and did not follow the tax enforcement procedures prescribed by the City charter and local laws.
  • The Council did not adopt policies and procedures for enforcing and collecting overdue ambulance service charges.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a fund balance policy and comprehensive multiyear financial and capital plans.
  • Develop and implement a plan for using unrestricted fund balance.
  • Prepare monthly cash flow statements for the Council and apply for casino revenues in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that City Charter requirements are being met regarding enforcement of unpaid real property taxes.
  • Adopt written policies and procedures that address collecting unpaid ambulance charges.

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