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August 8, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Village of Bergen, Big Flats Fire District No. 1, Canedea Fire District, Village of Canton, Town of Champlain, City of Rochester and the Spencerport Volunteer Fireman's Association, Inc.

"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 Bergen – Financial Condition (Genesee County)
The village board has accumulated a significant amount of surplus funds that could have been used to lessen the tax burden of village residents. For the sewer fund, the board did not adopt a balanced budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year. Estimated revenues exceeded appropriations by $50,129. Furthermore, the board did not appropriate any fund balance in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years. As a result, surplus fund balance increased to 94 percent of the ensuing year's appropriations as of May 31, 2011.

Big Flats Fire District No. 1 – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Chemung County)
The district board has not adopted a code of ethics or established written policies and procedures for cash receipts and disbursements, claims processing or information technology. Additionally, the board's adopted budgets were not structurally balanced because they failed to include all known revenues and appropriations.

Canedea Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Allegany County)
The district board did not perform an annual audit of the treasurer's records and the treasurer has not prepared and filed annual financial reports with OSC since 2006. In addition, although the board minutes indicated that they had authorized bills for payment, there was no indication in the minutes as to which claims were audited and approved for payment by the treasurer or the total amounts approved. There also was no indication on the individual claims that they had been audited and approved by the board for payment by the treasurer. These claims totaled over $111,000 during the 2011 fiscal year.

Village of Canton – Internal Controls Over Records and Reports and Financial Condition (St. Lawrence County)
The village clerk-treasurer did not maintain accurate computerized accounting records and reports, which impaired the board's ability to monitor financial operations. Although the mayor reviewed all bank statements and cancelled checks, the board did not ensure that timely bank reconciliations were properly performed. In addition, as of May 31, 2011, the village's two main bank accounts had not been reconciled for more than two years. Also, the board did not have procedures in place to ensure that the Annual Financial Reports are completed and filed timely.

Town of Champlain – Financial Condition of Water and Sewer Districts and Improvement Areas (Clinton County)
The town board adopted budgets for the water and sewer districts and improvement areas that were not reasonable or structurally balanced. This resulted in annual operating deficits and accumulated deficit fund balances. The lack of cash in two water districts and one sewer improvement area caused the board to rely on informal advances that could not be traced to a particular fund due to the comingling of funds, to finance those operations.

City of Rochester – Internal Controls Over the Procurement of Professional Services (Monroe County)
City officials did not obtain competition prior to awarding a construction contract totaling $600,000. According to the department head, it is normal procedure to contract with this vendor due to the nature of the services. Auditors identified five instances where the city council approved ordinances authorizing contracts with not-for-profit entities for which one or more council members served as directors, officers or employees. While these interests are not prohibited, the members were required to disclose their interests in the contracts. No evidence of such disclosure was found.

Spencerport Volunteer Firemen's Association, Inc. – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Monroe County)
The board did not provide adequate oversight of the association's financial activity. The association president did not appoint an audit committee and there was no indication in the minutes or elsewhere that an audit was conducted of the treasurer's records. Additionally, the board had not established any policies or procedures to implement any other internal controls, or further identify members' responsibilities as they relate to financial operations.


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