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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Village of Walton – Bio-Digester Capital Plan (2016M-378)


Released: April 7, 2017 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if Village officials adequately planned for the wastewater treatment facility’s bio-digester capital project for the period June 1, 2015 through August 16, 2016.

Background

The Village of Walton is located in the Town of Walton in Delaware County and has a population of approximately 3,090. The Village is governed by an elected five-member Board of Trustees. General, water and sewer fund budgeted appropriations for the 2016-17 fiscal year totaled approximately $4.8 million.

Key Findings

  • The bio-digester subjects the Village to significant risks because if the potential users discontinue operations or opt not to use the bio-digester, the Village will continue to incur substantial costs.
  • Village officials received an offer letter from New York State Empire State Development for a $1.5 million grant based on the original project scope and design. At the conclusion of our audit fieldwork, they had not formally accepted this grant.

Key Recommendations

  • Consider abandoning the bio-digester project unless they can secure contracts with local companies for byproduct disposals for an adequate fee and period of time to ensure revenues will be sufficient to exceed the costs to build and operate the bio-digester by sufficient amounts to warrant the substantial risks involved in the project.
  • Determine if the $1.5 million grant offered to the Village for bio-gas diversion can be used to help finance the cost of the project or to pay the $451,000 of costs already incurred.

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