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May 14, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Town of Allen, Arlington Fire District, Town of Blooming Grove, Town of Granger, Town of Hoosick, Village of Herkimer, City of Ithaca, Town of Orwell, Town of Warsaw, Village of Williamsville as well as restaurant inspection audits in Albany, Columbia, Cortland, Niagara and Oswego counties.

“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 Allen – Town Clerk Receipts (Allegany County)
The town clerk did not routinely issue duplicate receipts for transactions, prepare monthly accountability analyses, record all transactions accurately and did not deposit cash receipts intact or in a timely manner. The town board failed to provide adequate oversight over the clerk’s work and, as a result, was unaware of discrepancies in the clerk’s accounting records and that the clerk’s account had a small shortage.

Arlington Fire District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities and Information Technology (Dutchess County)
The district board did not exercise sufficient oversight to ensure that the district was receiving quality services from an Information Technology contractor to whom it paid $147,480. The audit also found district officials have not established procedures for the backup of critical electronic data and the verification of the data’s integrity.

Town of Blooming Grove – Audit Follow Up (Orange County)
In assessing the town's progress in implementing recommendations from a December 2010 audit report, auditors found of the 19 previous audit recommendations, six were implemented, eight were partially implemented and five were not implemented.

Consumer Protection: Restaurant Inspections (2012MS-2)
Auditors determined health departments in Albany, Columbia, Cortland, Niagara and Oswego counties are effective in reducing the risk of food hazards at food service establishments and in protecting consumers from food-borne illnesses. Columbia and Cortland counties, however, could increase consumers' assurance by inspecting high-risk establishments twice a year – as do the other three counties - in accordance with Department of Health recommendations.

Town of Granger – Fuel Procurement and Inventory Controls (Allegany County)
Auditors found that town officials have not purchased fuel in the most economical manner possible. Had the town used state contract awarded vendors, it could have saved approximately $2,300, or 3 percent, for the fuel purchases auditors reviewed. The audit also found the town’s highway superintendent did not adequately safeguard the town's fuel inventory, which increases the risk fuel could be used for non-town purposes.

Town of Hoosick – Board Oversight and Internal Controls (Rensselaer County)
The board allowed appropriations to be overspent in the general fund by $222,000 in 2009 and in the town highway fund by $212,500 and $195,000 in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The audit also found the town has not adopted policies and procedures for proper data backup, data storage and remote access.

Village of Herkimer – Financial Management (Herkimer County)
The board adopted budgets for the past three fiscal years that appropriated unexpended surplus funds to cover planned operating deficits. As a result, the general fund balance has declined over that period by $355,763. The audit also found the village is nearing its constitutional tax limit and therefore, will be limited in its ability to increase real property taxes to finance operations.

City of Ithaca – Financial Operations (Tompkins County)
The city’s chamberlain cannot be sure that all moneys owed to the city are collected and deposited. Certain revenue is not reconciled to available supporting documentation, adjustments are made without review or in some cases without supporting documentation, and cash receipts are voided without explanations. The audit also found the city controller did not approve all payments made by check.

Town of Orwell – Financial Management (Oswego County)
Portions of the fund balance for the town’s highway fund were set aside as a funding source for the following year's appropriations but were not needed, auditors found. This resulted in a higher tax levy than necessary. Also, the town board did not perform an adequate audit of each department that receives or disburses cash, according to the review.

Town of Warsaw – Financial Management (Wyoming County)
Town taxpayers have been paying more than needed to fund operations on an annual basis. Auditors found the board appropriated $123,084 of fund balance annually for the 2006 through 2010 fiscal years, but used an average of $26,557, which was only 22 percent of the appropriated total. Auditors compared budget estimates to actual results in each fund for these fiscal years and found that appropriations were consistently overestimated, and revenues were consistently underestimated.

Village of Williamsville – Financial Condition of the Water and Sewer Funds (Erie County)
The village’s water and sewer funds have experienced a steady decline in fund balance levels over the last several years which has placed both funds in an unstable financial position. Since January 2007, the village has increased water rates five times and sewer rates twice. The audit found, however, these increases have not consistently generated sufficient revenue to support operations.


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