DiNapoli’s Office Completes Local Government Audits
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the following audits: Village of Menands – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Albany County); Village of Hancock – Budget Review (Delaware County); and Town of Berne – Financial Condition and Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Albany County).
“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 Menands – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations
DiNapoli’s auditors noted that the board needs to develop adequate financial management procedures to govern the level of unreserved fund balance to be maintained in the water and sewer funds and determine whether the amounts maintained are reasonable. As of May 31, 2009, the funds had unreserved, unappropriated fund balances that were 131 percent and 106 percent, respectively, of the ensuing year’s budget. Auditors also found that village officials have not always enforced the established purchasing policy, and procedures were not operating effectively. Finally, the village needs to improve its internal controls over information technology.
Village of Hancock – Budget Review
DiNapoli’s auditors reviewed the Village of Hancock’s 2010-11 fiscal year tentative budget and found that the village’s proposed budget is reasonable. However, auditors also found that the village does not have a plan for repaying about $749,000 in short-term debt for flood-related damage that will not be covered by federal or state aid, or a plan to address a $1.68 million deficit in the sewer fund. Village officials must act promptly to prevent further deterioration in the sewer fund’s poor financial condition.
Town of Berne – Financial Condition and Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations
DiNapoli’s auditors found that the town had not adopted a policy or developed procedures to govern the level of unreserved, unappropriated fund balance to be maintained and/or to determine whether the amount maintained is reasonable. At fiscal year end December 31, 2008, the unreserved, unappropriated fund balance in the general fund was reported as $938,586; 103 percent of the ensuing year’s total budget and in the highway fund at $332,174; 26 percent of the ensuing year’s highway budget. In addition, the town had established reserve funds for medical expenses totaling $69,136 without the legal authority to do so. Internal controls over the supervisor’s records and reports need to be improved. The board also did not conduct a proper audit of claims or records. Auditors reviewed 14 claims totaling $94,070 and found that 11 claims totaling $23,133 lacked evidence of department head approval, 10 claims totaling $90,565 lacked evidence of receipt, and one claim totaling $16,921 included an overpayment of $1,741. Finally, although there was evidence that town officers and employees presented their books and records to the board, board members did not have any documentation to indicate that a proper audit of town records was actually conducted.
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.