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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Village of Whitehall – Financial Condition and Water Accountability (2011M-237)


Released: March 30, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the financial condition of the Village's water and sewer funds and assess its water accountability for the period of June 1, 2008, to May 31, 2011.

Background

The Village of Whitehall is located in the Town of Whitehall in Washington County. The Village is governed by an elected Board of Trustees which is comprised of a mayor and four trustees. The Village's general fund budget for 2011-12 was $1.8 million.

Key Findings

  • The Village's financial condition is precarious. Water and sewer rates are not sufficient to support operating costs.
  • In recent years the water and sewer funds were dependent on loans from other funds, including the general fund. The water and sewer funds are currently unable to repay these loans. If the water and sewer funds are unable to repay the general fund, it is likely that the financial condition of the general fund will become stressed in future years.
  • The Village could not account for at least 148 million gallons, or 55 percent of the water it processed in 2010. We estimate the cost to process and distribute the Village's unaccounted for water to be as much as $97,000 to $129,000 annually.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish user rates for water and sewer that are sufficient to finance water and sewer fund operations.
  • Develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that all outstanding interfund advances are repaid, and future interfund loans should be repaid no later than the close of the fiscal year in which the advance was made.
  • Investigate and correct the reasons for unaccounted for water, including inaccurate metering and significant leaks. Work towards meeting the industry standard of 10 percent for unaccounted for water.

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