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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Seneca County Industrial Development Agency – Project Approval and Monitoring (2015M-207)


Released: December 24, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Agency’s processes for evaluating, awarding and monitoring projects for the period January 1, 2014 through August 13, 2015.

Background

The Seneca County Industrial Development Agency was created in 1973 and is the sole IDA within the County. Its mission is to "advance the job opportunities and economic welfare of the people of Seneca County, by actively promoting, encouraging and attracting economically sound commerce, industry and recreational opportunities." The SCIDA Board consists of nine members, who are appointed by the County Board of Supervisors. For calendar year 2015, SCIDA has 33 projects, of which 30 projects have active payments in lieu of taxes agreements.

Key Findings

  • The method of determining project benefits to be provided is not well-defined or required to be documented. Therefore, it is possible that not all project applications of the same type were evaluated using the same criteria.
  • Recapture provisions are vague and do not include sufficient detail, such as specific plans for the recovery of previously provided financial assistance if job creation and economic goals or other terms of the agreements are not met.
  • The Board did not develop and implement adequate procedures to monitor approved projects and analysis of the information obtained from the companies was not sufficient.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish specific criteria for evaluating project applications in a consistent manner; ensure the approval process for each project is adequately documented, and any analysis in arriving at an approval decision is based on verified information.
  • Review and update the UTEP to include specific criteria for project approval and recapture of benefits. Include detailed recapture or default and remedy provisions in project agreements.
  • Develop specific, written procedures to monitor projects, and ensure project information is adequately analyzed to determine whether a project is meeting its goals and in compliance with the terms and conditions of project agreements.

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