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Office of the State Comptroller - Local Government & School Accountability
Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Ramapo – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (2011M-143)


Released: February 1, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the Town’s internal controls over selected financial activities for the period January 1, 2009, to November 17, 2010.

Background

The Town of Ramapo (Town) is located in Rockland County and has 12 villages, including Airmont, Chestnut Ridge, Hillburn, Kaser, Montebello, New Hempstead, New Square, Pomona, Sloatsburg, Spring Valley, Suffern and Wesley Hills. The Town Board (Board) is the governing and legislative body of the Town. Budgeted appropriations for the fiscal years 2009 and 2010 were $71.4 million and $74.9 million, respectively.

Key Findings

  • Town officials have inappropriately mingled the activities of the Town and the Ramapo Local Development Corporation (RLDC) in the construction of a minor league baseball stadium. These actions allowed Town officials to circumvent laws the Town is required to abide by for the approval and construction of such projects, and has resulted in the Town paying over $35.4 million in improvement costs and being liable for at least $25 million in bonds issued for debt on property that the Town no longer owns. Board members told us that they did not know how much the baseball stadium would cost the taxpayers or how it would be paid for.
  • There is little likelihood that the project will generate sufficient revenue to help the Town pay for this outstanding liability.
  • Board members told us that they received no financial reports; such as detailed project cost reports for Town projects (including the baseball stadium), budget versus actual reports, and generally did not receive or review contracts.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish and maintain a control environment that fosters a commitment to compliance with relevant laws and Town policies. The Board also should routinely monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the internal control system.
  • Ensure that financial decisions are based upon competent information.
  • Require the Supervisor to provide project-based cost reports.

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