DiNapoli’s Office Completes Local Government Audits
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the following audits:
Town of Plattsburgh – Internal Controls Over Billed Receivables (Clinton County); Village of Ossining – Internal Controls Over Water Billings and Collections (Westchester County); City of New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency – Project Approval and Monitoring (Westchester County); Town of Hinsdale – Justice Court (Cattaraugus County); Town of Glenville – Internal Controls Over Personal, Private and Sensitive Information (Schenectady County) and Village of Canaseraga – Financial Operations (Allegany 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.”
Town of Plattsburgh – Internal Controls Over Billed Receivables
DiNapoli’s auditors found weaknesses in the town’s internal controls over water and sewer billed receivables. The board had not established written policies and procedures for the billing, collecting and accounting for water and sewer billed receivables. Further, auditors noted that the town failed to reconcile the detailed customer account and billing records maintained by the water and wastewater department to the accounting department’s records. The town also did not adequately monitor the operations of its two ambulance districts, including the collection of fees imposed upon users of the district’s ambulance services by the service providers.
Village of Ossining – Internal Controls Over Water Billings and Collections
DiNapoli’s auditors found that internal controls over the billing and collection of water charges were appropriately designed and operating effectively. Auditors also noted that their testing disclosed a few improvement opportunities that could increase the village’s assurance that water revenues would continue to be properly accounted for.
Town of Hinsdale – Justice Court
DiNapoli’s auditors reviewed the justices’ records and reports and found that generally, internal controls were appropriately designed and operating effectively, and that the justices properly maintained their accounting records. However, auditors noted that Justice Lovell did not prepare written bank reconciliations or monthly accountability analyses. Although the accountability analysis performed by DiNapoli’s auditors on October 2, 2009 did not find any significant discrepancies, it is important that justices maintain documented bank reconciliations and prepare monthly accountability analyses to identify errors that may occur in a timely manner.
City of New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency – Project Approval and Monitoring
Auditors from DiNapoli’s office found that New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency (NRIDA) officials relied on the general procedural guidelines in NRIDA’s Uniform Tax Exemption Policy (UTEP) and did not have a checklist of specific criteria for evaluating project owners’ applications for financial incentives. In the absence of detailed evaluation criteria, they did not document the reasons for their project approvals and, therefore, there is no assurance that projects are evaluated in a consistent manner. Further, NRIDA officials did not perform a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis for any of the 10 projects reviewed to determine if the benefits to the city would exceed the cost of providing tax abatements and exemptions, even though seven of the applications provided sufficient information. NRIDA officials also did not ensure that the applications for the other three projects, which collectively received over $29 million in tax exemptions since their inception, specified the dollar amounts for benefits requested and received. NRIDA officials also did not monitor the status of ongoing projects to ensure reasonable progress toward the projected benefits described in the original applications. Finally, during 2008 NRIDA did not remit approximately $1.3 million in payments in PILOTs to affected tax jurisdictions within 30 days of receipt as required by GML, but instead did so on an annual basis.
Town of Glenville – Internal Controls Over Personal, Private and Sensitive Information
DiNapoli’s auditors noted that the board did not establish adequate policies and procedures to safeguard personal, private and sensitive information (PPSI). Consequently, DiNapoli’s auditors found that town personnel were using social security numbers as employee identifiers on paper and electronic correspondence that was routinely prepared and distributed by department managers. In addition, town personnel in several departments collected credit card, driver’s license, checking account, and PPSI that was not necessary for business purposes and/or not properly secured. Lastly, the town has not performed a town-wide data classification, adopted a breach notification policy or provided information security awareness training to safeguard PPSI. Further, internal controls over information technology are not appropriately designed or operating effectively.
Village of Canaseraga – Financial Operations
DiNapoli’s auditors found that the clerk-treasurer did not maintain appropriate records to properly account for and report financial activity, such as cash receipts, disbursements journals, general ledger accounts or general journals. She also failed to prepare and provide accurate monthly reports to the board. In addition, the board did not audit the clerk-treasurer’s books and records, as required by village law. The clerk-treasurer also improperly invested village moneys totaling more than $200,000 through an investment brokerage firm because the board-adopted investment policy inappropriately allows this practice.
If you have any questions or would like a comment from the Comptroller’s office regarding this report, contact the Press Office at 518-474-4015 or email.