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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

July 11, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Town of Johnstown, the City of Mount Vernon, the Village of South Glens Falls, the Woodgate Volunteer Fire Department and a budget review of the City of Yonkers.

"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."

Town of Johnstown – Payroll (Fulton County)
The town board needs to improve its policies and procedures over payroll to ensure that officials maintain adequate time records, accurately calculate overtime pay and monitor leave accrual use. As a result of the deficiencies auditors identified, town officials overpaid 13 employees by more than $3,500 in overtime pay even though the town personnel policy states that leave time should not be included in the calculation of overtime.

City of Mount Vernon – Building Department Fees and Fines (Westchester County)
The city did not resolve 955 violations issued during the audit period or about 83 percent of the total violations issued. As a result, the city did not receive a minimum of about $86,000 in violation fees it could have collected had all these violations been resolved. The city currently has about 4,900 violation cases unresolved since 2004, with minimum fines due totaling $440,000. Collecting the fees from resolved violations could significantly increase revenues, well exceeding the $15,000 in violation fees collected in 2012.

Village of South Glens Falls – Financial Condition and Budgeting Practices (Saratoga County)
The village board has not adopted structurally balanced budgets with reasonable estimates for revenues and appropriations for the general, sewer and water funds. The board planned for general fund operating deficits which, if realized, would have resulted in unrestricted fund balance deficits.

Woodgate Volunteer Fire Department – Controls Over Financial Activities (Oneida County)
The board needs to improve its oversight of the department’s financial activities to ensure that sufficient controls are in place to safeguard assets. Although the treasurer verbally updates the board on bank balances at the monthly meetings, he does not provide written monthly or annual financial reports. While the treasurer does prepare monthly bank reconciliations, the board does not review them or periodically review the bank statements and canceled check images which could help identify an improper disbursement. Furthermore, there was no documented order signed by the secretary and president listing the bills approved by the department members for any payment made during our audit period. Finally, the board did not appoint an auditing committee of three members to examine the department’s finances each year.

City of Yonkers – Budget Review (Westchester County)
The 2014-15 adopted budget includes revenue of $28 million, authorized by Chapter 55 of the Laws of 2014, to finance operating expenditures. Although this aid will provide relief in the 2014-15 budget, this funding source will not be available in future years thereby creating a funding gap in the 2015-16 fiscal year that the  city must address by finding an alternate source of revenue or by reducing appropriations. The city’s use of fund balance to close gaps in the budget decreases the fund balance that is available to cover unforeseen shortfalls in revenue or unexpected expenditures.

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For access to state and local government spending and nearly 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

 

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