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August 31, 2011

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits


New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits for the Village of East Aurora, Town of Schuyler Falls, Village of Lyons, Holley Fire Company, the Village of Richfield Springs and Rushford Fire District.

"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."

Village of East Aurora - Leave Benefits (Erie County)
Auditors found that leave usage was accurately and timely recorded and that appropriate adjustments were made in the ensuing pay periods. However, one employee, the police chief, was improperly credited with 10 extra vacation days annually.

Town of Schuyler Falls - Financial Management (Clinton County)
The board has not adopted budgets that were based on realistic estimates of revenues and expenditures. Consequently, fund balances that were appropriated as funding sources were neither needed nor used. As a result, the town has accumulated general and highway unreserved, unappropriated fund balances totaling $2,372,577 and $1,291,390, respectively, which are excessive in comparison to the town's expenditure levels. Therefore, a significant amount of the real property tax levied in the last three fiscal years was unnecessary.

Village of Lyons - Financial Condition of the Water and Sewer Funds (Wayne County)
Both the water and sewer funds have experienced deficit fund balances over the past three years. At the end of the 2009-10 fiscal year, the water fund had an unreserved, unappropriated fund balance deficit of $130,066, and the sewer fund a deficit of $94,877. In addition, auditors identified unaccounted-for water loss of up to 42 percent of water purchased. Village officials advanced moneys to these funds from the general fund averaging a combined $207,000 in each of the three fiscal years 2007-08 through 2009-10 to provide cash for operations. These advances were not properly recorded and were made without prior board approval as required by law. The village has taken steps recently to reduce the deficit fund balances over the next three years.

Holley Fire Company - Controls Over Financial Activity (Orleans County)
The treasurer maintained suitable records to account for financial activities and submitted monthly and annual financial reports to the board. The board did not provide adequate oversight of company financial activity. Generally, financial activity was properly recorded. However, 34 checks totaling $22,211 had no bills or other documentation on file to substantiate that the payments were for appropriate company purposes. The board requires dual signatures on checks, but auditors found that 113 checks had just one signature.

Village of Richfield Springs - Internal Controls Over Payroll and Treasurer's Receipts (Otsego County)
The mayor and treasurer did not segregate payroll or cash receipt duties, or establish compensating controls. As a result, two employees had sick and vacation leave balances that had discrepancies of 202 hours, and one employee was paid $4,000 for 48.75 days of leave time without board authorization. In addition, 14 water and sewer accounts had payments recorded after their due dates, but did not have any penalties assessed. Further, documentation was not on file to verify the intactness of cash receipts.

Rushford Fire District - Controls Over Financial Activity (Allegany County)
Auditors found that district controls are adequate to ensure that financial activity is properly recorded and reported and that district moneys are safeguarded.



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