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March 5, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits


New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Bethpage Water District, Town of Enfield and theSavannah Fire Company.
           
"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."

Bethpage Water District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Nassau County)
One of the banks in which the district maintains a substantial cash balance changed its policy in April 2011, so that the fees charged exceeded interest paid. For example, in April 2011, the district earned interest of $86.14 on its operating account; however the bank charged the district $409.50 in fees resulting in a loss of $363.36 for the month. Upon learning of this policy change, district officials immediately researched alternative institutions to deposit their funds.

Town of Enfield – Financial Management (Tompkins County)
The board does not properly manage town finances by ensuring that budgets are reasonable and accurate. The supervisor and board included an excess of $617,000 of appropriations in the 2009 and 2010 budgets in order to generate surplus money as a means to finance a planned building project. The budgets also included planned transfers to a reserve of more than $400,000. However, the transfers never occurred during 2009 and 2010. During the same years, the supervisor appropriated a total of $630,000 of surplus fund balance, which included the surplus intended for the building project, to finance the budgets. This eliminated the excess that was planned to finance the building project. The supervisor did not consider the purpose of the intentionally-generated surpluses when he estimated the available amount of surplus fund balance. Therefore, since 2009, the available fund balance was incorrectly estimated and created a false financial position for the town during the budget process.

Savannah Fire Company – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Wayne County)
The treasurer submitted monthly and annual financial reports to the committee. However, the treasurer did not maintain adequate documentation, and the committee did not provide adequate oversight of financial activity. For example, the treasurer does not prepare vouchers for each bill, as required in the by-laws. The committee receives monthly transaction reports of disbursements, but does not approve the disbursements before they are paid. In addition, the committee did not review monthly bank reconciliations. Furthermore, the company has not adopted a code of ethics as required by law, and the treasurer did not publicly disclose his interest in contracts between his private contracting business and the fire company


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