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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

News

From the Office of the New York State Comptroller

Thomas P. DiNapoli

January 4, 2017, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Chautauqua County, Town of Chester, Hadley-Luzerne Joint Youth Commission, Town of Ossian, Town of Plainfield, Town of RotterdamSaratoga County Water Authority, Town of Seward and the Town of Walton.

“In today’s fiscal climate, budget transparency and accountability for our local communities is a top priority,” said DiNapoli. “By auditing municipal finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively.”

Chautauqua County – Investments and Payroll (2016M-147)
Auditors found payments to elected officials and some employees were not accurately calculated. The county overpaid 23 elected officials and 94 employees approximately $26,400 in 2015. Absent corrective action, the county will likely overpay them an estimated $27,000 in the 2016 fiscal year. In addition, the county did not always invest funds in accordance its adopted investment policy or state law.

Town of Chester – Property Tax Exemptions (Orange County)
The town assessor did not properly grant and monitor exemptions for both residential and non-residential properties. Auditors found exemptions that the assessor granted but were included in the real property service software system with incorrect codes and/or inaccurate amounts. Additionally, the assessor did not have the proper documentation to support the exemption for some properties. The assessor also granted some exemptions that were not board approved.

Hadley-Luzerne Joint Youth Commission – Governance and Cash Receipts (Saratoga County)
The three towns of Hadley, Day and Lake Luzerne did not enter into an agreement to govern the commission and the board did not establish policies and procedures to help ensure it provided adequate oversight of the commission’s financial operations. In addition, the board of commissioners was unable to determine if all receipts collected were remitted to the bookkeeper, accurately recorded and deposited intact and in a timely manner.

Town of Ossian – Tax Collector (Livingston County)
The tax collector accurately recorded tax payments and deposits were made and collections remitted to the supervisor and county treasurer within the statutorily required time limits.

Town of Plainfield – Road and Equipment Maintenance (Otsego County)
Officials have taken steps to improve repairs and maintenance to roads and equipment. They have not, however, developed a formal long-term plan for the acquisition and replacement of equipment.

Town of Rotterdam – Water Rents (Schenectady County)
Town officials designed appropriate internal controls to ensure that water fees were properly billed, collected, deposited and recorded in the accounting records. The town comptroller accounted for water revenue and collections accurately.

Saratoga County Water Authority – Water Charges (2016M-357)
The board and authority officials have established and implemented effective internal controls over the authority’s billing, collecting, depositing and recording of water charges.

Town of Seward – Financial Management (Schoharie County)
Town officials have adopted budgets that consistently overestimated expenditures and underestimated revenues. Expenditure variances have averaged 5 percent for the general fund and 9 percent for the highway fund over the last three fiscal years while revenue variances have averaged 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively. The consistency of these surpluses has driven fund balance amounts to significant levels of excess.

Town of Walton – Incompatible Duties (Delaware County)
The town supervisor appointed the clerk to act as his bookkeeper. However, the New York State Attorney General’s office has expressed the view that the office of the clerk is incompatible with the supervisor’s bookkeeper position. Combining the duties of the clerk and the bookkeeper creates a significant weakness in the internal control system of the town. Furthermore, there is no annual audit performed of the records of the clerk or supervisor, which compounds the control weakness created by combining these duties.

Albany Phone: (518) 474-4015 Fax: (518) 473-8940
NYC Phone: (212) 383-1388 Fax: (212) 681-7677
Internet: www.osc.state.ny.us
E-Mail: press@osc.state.ny.us