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April 27, 2010



DiNapoli's Office Completes Local Government Audits

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the following audits: Town of Antwerp – Internal Controls Over Selected Town Operations (Jefferson County); Village of Blasdell – Internal Controls Over the Water Fund and Justice Court Operations (Erie County); and Town of Orangetown – Wastewater Capital Project (Rockland County).

“My office’s audits of local governments improve their financial management practices,” DiNapoli said. “These audits are tools for local officials to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect taxpayer dollars and provide the best possible service these taxpayer dollars can deliver.”

Town of Antwerp – Internal Controls Over Selected Town Operations
DiNapoli’s auditors found that the town did not properly allocate highway payroll expenditures and tax revenues between the town-wide and town outside village funds for the 2008 fiscal year, resulting in town-wide and town outside village fund balances being over and understated by $97,000, respectively. Auditors also found that town officials had not solicited bids for purchases totaling more than $190,000 in 2008 and 2009. Finally, the highway superintendent did not ensure that fuel supplies were adequately safeguarded and accounted for. Auditors noted that approximately 34 percent of the fuel purchased is not accounted for.

Village of Blasdell – Internal Controls Over the Water Fund and Justice Court Operations
DiNapoli’s auditors stated that the board’s failure to properly manage the water fund’s finances resulted in the fund’s reliance on interfund loans which has effectively shifted the water fund’s costs to the general fund for the past five years. When the water operations are taken over by the Erie County Water Authority, the village plans to assess water users with significant surcharges to repay the loans. Better budgets could have avoided the need to advance money from the general fund to the water fund and the significant surcharges that will be assessed to water users when the takeover happens. Auditors also found that the justice failed to provide sufficient oversight of court operations. The justice’s failure to ensure the preparation of a monthly accountability analysis, accurate cash receipts journals, and to deposit money received in a timely manner has placed court assets at risk of mismanagement, inappropriate use and theft. The records of the court are in disarray to the point that court officials are unable to verify the court liabilities.

Town of Orangetown – Wastewater Capital Project
DiNapoli’s auditors found that the town did not properly plan the Wastewater Infrastructure Capital Improvement Project (WICIP). As a result of town officials’ poor planning and their use of a contract that did not protect the town’s interests, the project’s costs have grown from $22.1 million
to approximately $47 million. Moreover, the project is still not complete and the town will incur additional costs. Furthermore, town officials did not fully inform taxpayers of the entire costs at the outset of the Project to enable them to make informed decisions concerning the Project. We also found that the Board did not follow the New York State Energy Law (Energy Law) when procuring an energy performance contract. The town now owes $37,500 in fines for failing to remedy a sewage overflow problem that the project was designed to correct.

If you have any questions or would like a comment from the Comptroller’s Office regarding these audits, please contact the Press Office at 518-474-4015.

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