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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 Sinclairville – Water Operations (2014M-362)


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

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if the Village’s water system was operating effectively for the period June 1, 2013 through October 24, 2014.

Background

The Village of Sinclairville is located in the Towns of Charlotte and Gerry in Chautauqua County and has a population of approximately 600. The Village is governed by an elected five-member Board of Trustees. For the 2014-15 fiscal year, general fund appropriations totaled $399,464 and water fund appropriations totaled $80,788.

Key Findings

  • Village officials did not periodically compare the amount of water produced with the amount billed and were unaware of the extent of unaccounted-for water.
  • Village officials have not estimated what part of the unaccounted-for water was due to other municipal use (e.g., flushing water lines).
  • The Board has not established policies for billing and collecting water rents, determining estimated bills or approving and applying adjustments to customers’ accounts.
  • The Board did not establish policies for the enforcement of unpaid water bills or ensure that all overdue water bills were relevied on the property tax roll.

Key Recommendations

  • Periodically reconcile water produced to the amount of water billed and otherwise accounted for to determine if significant unaccounted-for water is occurring.
  • Estimate water consumption for municipal usage, such as for hydrant flushing and firefighting.
  • Develop and adopt policies for the water billing and collection process, including the calculation and approval of estimates for nonfunctioning meters and unmetered use.
  • Develop and adopt policies for the enforcement of unpaid water bills and routinely monitor water bills, collections and the annual relevy of unpaid water bills to ensure the Clerk-Treasurer is acting in accordance with Board policies.

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