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April 17, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits


New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Town of Batavia, Town of German Flatts, Village of Hammondsport, Village of Hempstead, Village of Ilion, Town of Lewisboro, Town of Orangeville, Round Lake Hose Company No. 1 Inc. and the Town of Waverly.
           
"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 Batavia – Highway Shared Services (Genesee County)
Auditors reviewed the town highway shared service activities in 2010 and 2011 and determined that there were 75 instances of the town sharing services with 12 different local governments. As a result of these practices, in 2010 the town saved approximately $4,600 by borrowing manpower and equipment from other municipalities. In addition, these other entities saved approximately $26,800 by borrowing manpower and equipment from the town. In 2011, the town saved approximately $93,300, while the other entities saved approximately $11,200. The savings of $93,300 was approximately 8 percent of the town’s total highway fund expenditures of $1.2 million in 2011.

Town of German Flatts – Board Oversight (Herkimer County)
The board did not authorize the wages paid to highway employees or the part-time assessor totaling $405,292. The supervisor also increased the salaries of seven employees by a total of $15,044 without seeking board approval, and without informing either the board or the public of the additional payments. The board did not ensure that the town’s financial activity was accurately recorded and did not take appropriate action to maintain taxpayer equity. Town officials did not allocate highway expenditures to the highway-outside village fund or the town-wide highway fund based on the type of service provided as required by law. The board also did not perform complete annual audits of the records and reports of the officers and employees who received or disbursed cash.

Village of Hammondsport – Water Billings and Collections (Steuben County)
The village continued to provide water service to delinquent water customers and did not shut them off for non-payment after 60 days. For example, as of September 14, 2011 (six months into the fiscal year), the village had 45 (12 percent) delinquent water customers, with unpaid water rents totaling $4,465, that should have been shut off from water service. As of February 8, 2012, 12 of the 45 customers were still delinquent, and the village had to re-levy these unpaid water rents totaling almost $1,550 on the 2012-13 real property tax bills. The village also does not have individual contracts with 11 water customers located in the Town of Urbana.

Village of Hempstead – Budget Review (Suffolk County)
Auditors found that the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the tentative budget are reasonable. The village’s tentative budget complies with the property tax levy limit. Although the village tax levy increase is below 2 percent, the board adopted a local law on January 17, 2012, that would allow it to override the tax cap, if necessary.

Village of Ilion - Budget Review (Herkimer County)
The significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable. The village has adopted a local law to override the property tax levy limit in 2012-13.

Town of Lewisboro – Financial Condition and Activities (Westchester County)
The town’s general fund balance declined from $3,094,491 in 2006 to two consecutive years of deficit fund balances totaling $655,312 in 2009 and $338,100 in 2010. Similarly, the sewer fund showed a continual decline in fund balance from 2006 to 2009, and a deficit fund balance in 2010. While the highway fund maintained a positive fund balance from 2006 to 2010, fund balance declined substantially from $743,876 in 2006 to $36,921 in 2010. The steady decline in fund balance and eventual deficits mainly resulted from poor budget estimates. The board did not audit claims against the town, or ensure that interfund transfers were properly authorized, accurately recorded and repaid as required. The annual update documents were consistently filed after the due date.

Town of Orangeville – Highway Procurement (Wyoming County)
The board, prior to March 2011, did not adopt a written purchasing policy as required. After adopting a policy in March 2011, the board and highway superintendent did not follow the policy. The town did not properly bid three equipment purchases totaling over $437,000 and diesel fuel totaling more than $66,000. The town also purchased materials totaling $67,000, not subject to competitive bidding requirements, without obtaining price quotes. The board did not adequately monitor highway department purchasing practices during its audit of claims. As a result, the town purchased $146,000 of road materials that it did not appear to need. Furthermore, the town could have saved more than $20,000 by using highway employees and equipment to haul these materials.

Round Lake Hose Company No. 1 Inc. – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Saratoga County)
The board had not established adequate written policies and procedures governing cash receipts and disbursements. The treasurer’s duties were not adequately segregated. The treasurer was responsible for maintaining all the company’s bank accounts and handling all moneys received and disbursed by the company, including preparing financial reports. Even though the board had established requirements that the treasurer deposit all money within five days of receipt and all company checks contain two signatures, those controls did not effectively mitigate the overall weaknesses resulting from the lack of segregation of duties.

Town of Waverly – Internal Controls Over Selected Cash Receipts (Franklin County)
The town lacked comprehensive written policies and procedures to provide adequate guidance and internal controls over cash receipts from water and sewer rents, property concessions, and campground collections. The town had informal procedures that allowed for individual employees to collect, record, and deposit receipts, without any segregation of duties. Town officials did not provide additional oversight to mitigate this control weakness and did not ensure that all rent collections were being billed in accordance with established rates, that late payment penalties properly applied, or that delinquent water and sewer accounts were properly re-levied.




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