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February 15, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Broome County Industrial Development Agency, Town of Guilford, Town of Hannibal, Town of New Hudson and the Village of Nyack.
           
"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."

Broome County Industrial Development Agency – Evaluation of Project Outcomes
BCIDA officials ensured that projects that received property tax abatements under the current Uniform Tax Exemption Policy were in the best interest of the community. The BCIDA extended benefits totaling approximately $101.3 million for 11 projects during the audit period. These BCIDA benefits were in the form of reducing the taxes the project would have paid if the project occurred without assistance. In return, these projects reportedly created 578 jobs with estimated annual salaries totaling $21 million; increased the assessed value of the respective properties by approximately $106 million, which equated to an additional $38 million in revenue for the local municipalities during the Payment in Lieu of Taxes terms; and created additional ancillary businesses. BCIDA did not independently verify this information, nor did it obtain salary information related to these jobs. The BCIDA Chairman had a prohibited interest in a contract with BCIDA.

Town of Guilford – Oversight of Financial Operations (Chenango County)
The board did not provide the proper oversight over the town's capital project and was not comparing actual to budgeted expenditures over the life of the project. The awarded bids for the capital project were $494,460 more than the voter-approved amount of $1.65 million, and the actual amount spent was $554,000 more than the approved amount. Auditors could not find documentation for the verification of the quality of work at the close of each contract for four out of five contractors prior to the contractors receiving their final payments. The board did not ensure compliance with General Municipal Law relating to a prohibited conflict of interest. The highway superintendent and his spouse own a gas station from which the town gets its unleaded fuel. The town paid the fuel card vendor $9,513 and paid the gas station $490 directly. The board did not ensure that unleaded fuel was used only for town vehicles and equipment. Of the 198 invoiced fuel purchases during the audit period, 98 of the transactions totaling $3,863 did not have supporting receipts.

Town of Hannibal – Internal Controls Over Cash Receipts (Oswego County)
The town clerk, who is also the bookkeeper to the supervisor, has cash receipt duties that are not segregated and there are no compensating controls. The town clerk should not hold the position of bookkeeper to the supervisor because the positions have functions that serve as checks against one another that do not exist unless they are performed by separate individuals.

Town of New Hudson – Community Development Block Grant (Allegany County)
The board, as governing body of the grant recipient, did not fulfill its responsibility to oversee the use of the Office of Community Renewal funds by the Cuba Community Development Corporation (CCDC). The board did not enter into a written contract to establish the services to be provided by the CCDC as the grant sub-recipient, and did not monitor the CCDC's progress toward community development goals funded by the CDBG program. The board granted the town clerk the authority to sign the sub-recipient's requests for CDBG funds, and the clerk was able to control key financial duties relative to the development project with no oversight.

Village of Nyack – The Nyack Center, Purchasing and Claims Processing (Rockland County)
Nyack Center officials did not follow the terms of the contract between the center and the village, and village officials failed to ensure or require that they do so. As a result, village taxpayers inappropriately paid $216,026 from 2008 to 2011 for non-village residents to attend the center's summer camp. Village officials did not always ensure that purchases were made in accordance with their purchasing policy and that the desired professional services were obtained at the most favorable terms and in the best interest of taxpayers. The board did not always audit and approve claims against the village prior to payment and has not established policies and procedures over the claims auditing process.

 

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