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December 28, 2010

 

DiNapoli's Office Completes School & Local Government Audits



New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Village of Chaumont, Ossining Union Free School District, Saranac Lake Central School District, the Town of Tonawanda and Uniondale Union Free School District.

“My office’s audits of local governments, school districts and BOCES help them 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 Chaumont – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Jefferson County)
The audit found the board needs to improve its oversight of village operations.  The board did not establish policies and procedures that adequately segregated the clerk-treasurer’s duties. In addition, internal controls need to be improved for cash receipts and disbursements, payroll and user charges. The board did not receive adequate periodic financial reports necessary for making informed financial decisions and failed to audit the records and reports of the clerk-treasurer, as required by law. The clerk-treasurer did not ensure that accounting records were accurate and up-to-date, that the annual financial report was filed in a timely manner, and that payroll taxes were remitted in a timely manner.

Ossining Union Free School District – Administrative Costs (Westchester County)
Auditors found the district has higher administrative costs than the average of comparable districts in the region.  If the district limited its administrative costs and reduced the number of administrators to the levels for comparable districts, the district could realize savings of up to $670,000 on an annual basis.  The district could direct these funds toward instructional services that more directly benefit students or use the savings to reduce the overall budget.

Saranac Lake Central School District – School Building Closure (Clinton & Essex counties)
The audit found the district’s enrollment declined over the last five years from 1,608 in 2004-05 to 1,390 in 2009-10. Reacting to this trend, in June 2007, the board engaged a consultant to perform an educational facilities study. The final report, received in February 2008, recommended the closure of an elementary school. Auditors reviewed operational costs for the now-closed school building and determined the closure saved the district more than $657,000 in the current year. Of these savings, $519,000 includes wages, salaries and fringe benefits, $111,000 includes transportation, and $27,000 includes building operations and maintenance.  The closure will likely save the district almost $2 million over the next three years.

Town of Tonawanda – Risk Management (Erie County)
Auditors found the town did not have an adequate risk management program or a claims management system. As a result, the town’s workers compensation costs increased from an average of approximately $1 million during 2005 – 2007 to approximately $1.8 million and $1.7 million in 2008 and 2009 respectively. While the town recently improved its risk management program, further improvements are needed.

Uniondale Union Free School District – Controls Over Financial Operations – Audit Follow Up (Nassau County)
A review found that it appears the district has implemented corrective action. Six of the audit recommendations have been fully implemented and one of the audit recommendations is currently not applicable.

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



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