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 FOR RELEASE:

Immediately
August 23, 2010



DiNapoli: Levittown Fire District Needs More Transparent Finances

Exceeded Voter-Approved Financing Limits



 The Levittown Fire District did not follow all applicable laws and regulations and did not provide taxpayers with accountability when it entered into a standard commercial loan with a financial institution for a rescue pumper, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“My office’s audits of local governments are tools for local officials to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place,” DiNapoli said. “In this case, district officials should have done a better job implementing the wishes of the voters.” The audit covered the period January 1, 2008 to September 31, 2009.

DiNapoli’s auditors found that the board entered into a standard commercial loan agreement with a financial institution for a rescue pumper that exceeded the voter-approved $600,000 limit by $100,000, and exceeded the approved 72-month term by 12 months. Furthermore, the board used $200,000 of the amount loaned at 5 percent to pay off a 4.75 percent loan from 2005, which unnecessarily increased the cost to taxpayers by $25,750.

DiNapoli’s audit also noted that the board failed to appropriately audit claims and did not ensure that the treasurer’s accounting duties were segregated or that compensation controls were being used. In addition, the district paid three professional service providers a total of $72,150 without seeking competitive proposals.

DiNapoli recommended district officials and the board:
  • Review purchasing and financing policies and procedures to ensure that all statutory and regulatory requirements are followed when entering into installment purchase agreements;
  • Audit and approve all claims prior to payment;
  • Review the treasurer’s duties and institute internal controls to ensure proper segregation of duties;
  • Consider amending its purchasing policy to require district officials to award professional service contracts only after solicitation of competition and solicit requests-for-proposals for auditing services, as required by law; and
  • Ensure that goods and services are procured in accordance with established district policies and procedures.

District officials generally agreed with the findings and recommendations, and indicated they would take corrective action.

If you have any questions, or would like a comment from the Comptroller’s press office regarding this audit, please call the press office at 518-474-4015, or send an email to press@osc.state.ny.us.

Click here for a copy of the report.


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