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December 19, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Village of Fort Edward, Town of Livingston, Town of Montgomery, Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District, Town of Oakfield, Town of Olean, Town of Stillwater, Town of Unadilla, Town of Waterloo, and the West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association.

“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 Fort Edward – Financial Condition (Washington County)
Auditors found the reported unreserved fund balances for the water fund and the general fund were inaccurate due to various accounting errors. Water fund revenues continue to fall short because the village has collected less water rents from industrial users each year and has not accurately adjusted budget estimates in response to the decrease.

Town of Livingston – Tax Collector (Columbia County)
There are significant weaknesses with the timeliness and accuracy of how the town’s tax collector recorded, supported, deposited, disbursed and reported tax payments. Auditors identified a potential shortage of $2,567 in penalties and interest owed to the town. Town officials should conduct a full reconciliation of payments received, deposited and remitted to determine the exact shortage amount.

Town of Montgomery – Police Funding and Information Technology (Orange County)
The town board is incorrectly assessing taxpayers in two of the town’s three villages for the costs associated with the police department. The board has under-assessed the properties in these two villages by approximately $2 million in the past three fiscal years. Further, the board did not adopt guidance for assessing the town’s IT system for vulnerabilities or disaster recovery. The IT system does not have web filters in place, exposing the IT system to a greater risk of becoming infected or being compromised from external sources.

Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District – Internal Controls Over Cash Receipts and Disbursements (2012M-186)
Internal controls over cash receipts and disbursements were not appropriately designed or operating effectively. The district board did not adequately segregate duties or conduct an adequate annual review of district records. As a result, there is an increased risk that errors or irregularities could occur and remain undetected and uncorrected.

Town of Oakfield – Controls Over Garbage Punch Cards (Genesee County)
Town residents must purchase a garbage punch card in order to dispose of waste at the town’s waste facility. The town clerk did not adequately account for the sale of garbage punch cards, nor did the town board provide proper oversight through an annual audit of departments handling cash. As a result, the clerk could not account for 1,519 cards valued at $30,380.

Town of Olean – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Cattaraugus County)
The town board did not have a procedure in place to ensure that only authorized wages and salaries were paid as intended. As a result, the former town supervisor was able to process and make payroll payments that were not authorized by the board to himself, the town clerk (who is his sister), and a highway department employee (who is his son), totaling more than $17,000.

Town of Stillwater – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Saratoga County)
The town board did not maintain equity among taxpayers by appropriately allocating expenditures between the town-wide and part-town funds. As a result, the board improperly allocated expenditures for town buildings, the town historian and community center programs totaling $840,000 to the part-town general fund. Further, the board and the town clerk did not establish adequate internal controls.

Town of Unadilla – Financial Operations (Chenango County)
While internal control deficiencies existed during the audit period, the town board and town supervisor have corrected many of these deficiencies in the town’s financial operations. Control weaknesses still remain, however, in the oversight of the accounting functions handled by the town’s bookkeeper.

Town of Waterloo – Financial Management and Information Technology (Ontario County)
The town board has consistently underestimated revenues and/or overestimated expenditures in the town’s operating funds. The board’s budgeting practices have resulted in the town’s operating funds accumulating excessive moneys that could be used to benefit taxpayers. Also, the board has not developed or implemented policies or procedures for acceptable computer use, breach notification or disaster recovery.

West Webster Volunteer Firemen’s Association, Inc. – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Monroe County)
Auditors found the association board has allowed the treasurer to perform incompatible duties that involve custody of cash, recordkeeping and authorization of payments without having implemented proper compensating controls. The board cannot be sure that all association transactions are authorized and properly recorded; that financial reports are accurate, reliable, and filed in a timely manner; or that the association complies with its by-laws and other applicable laws, rules and regulations.

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