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November 28, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Town of Butler, Town of Caneadea, East Islip Fire District, Town of Gates, Town of Jay, Town of Mamakating, City of Newburgh, North Bay Fire District, Village of Otisville and the Town of Vienna.

“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 Butler – Justice Court (Wayne County)
The town justices and board did not establish adequate internal controls over the justice court’s financial operations. Auditors found town justices failed to maintain a bail list, turn over unclaimed bail to the town, and complete formal monthly bank reconciliations and accountability analyses. As a result, town officials have limited assurance that all moneys collected were properly recorded and accounted for, increasing the risk that court funds could be misappropriated without detection or correction.

Town of Caneadea – Internal Controls Over Procurement (Allegany County)
The town board did not ensure officials followed the town’s procurement policy or statutory bidding requirements. Auditors found town officials awarded professional service contracts for legal services and municipal insurance without the benefit of competition. Also, there was no indication that the town board evaluated its procurement policy since its adoption in 1993.

East Islip Fire District – Internal Controls Over Cash Disbursements (Suffolk County)
Auditors found that the fire district’s disbursement activity was properly recorded and supported with appropriate documentation, and that claims appeared to be for valid district purposes.

Town of Gates – Information Technology (Monroe County)
The town board failed to adopt IT policies that address personal computer use, password security and access to sensitive information, nor did the town have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan (DRP) for resuming critical operations in the event of a system failure. As a result, when a system failure occurred in February 2011, the town was not prepared and various town functions were interrupted from one to six days. Town officials subsequently developed a DRP that auditors found to contain all the elements of a comprehensive plan to restore critical services in a timely manner.

Town of Jay – Internal Controls Over User Charges (Essex County)
The town does not have comprehensive written policies and procedures to provide adequate guidance and internal controls over water and sewer user charges. Auditors found the town board has not formally adopted water and sewer rates, adjustments are made to accounts with no support for the changes, collection dates for cash receipts are not documented and deposits are not made in a timely manner.

Town of Mamakating – Fiscal Oversight (Sullivan County)
The town board and supervisor did not meet their fiscal oversight responsibilities. Town officials cannot be sure that all money paid to the town is actually recorded and deposited, and that all disbursements are made for proper town purposes. Beyond auditing claims presented, the town supervisor and board members did not provide any oversight, including an annual audit, of the town’s financial operations.

City of Newburgh – Budget Review (Orange County)
Auditors found, except for certain matters, that the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the city’s proposed budget are reasonable. The realization of approximately $1 million from water sales, sewer charges, and refuse and garbage fees revenues is contingent upon the city council’s approving a 10 percent rate increase. The amount of appropriated fund balance in the general and water funds is a relatively high percentage of the available fund balance. The city may face a significant shortfall in its 2014 budget because of its reliance on non-recurring funding sources. The proposed budget complies with the tax levy limit.

North Bay Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Oneida County)
The former district secretary-treasurer did not maintain a checkbook register or other accounting records, failed to submit monthly reports to the district board, and did not prepare and file annual financial reports with the State Comptroller’s Office for the 2008 through 2010 fiscal years. Auditors found the current secretary-treasurer now maintains sufficient accounting records and regularly submits monthly reports to the board.

Village of Otisville – Accounting for Fire Protection Funds (Orange County)
Auditors identified improper accounting practices and questionable transactions relating to fire protection funds. Cash disbursement records were not accurate and complete. Village officials could not locate records authorizing the establishment of two fire reserves and the purpose and use of the reserves. The village board failed to monitor the village’s financial transactions, review the deputy clerk-treasurer’s work for accuracy and audit accounting records.

Town of Vienna – Internal Controls Over Selected Operations (Oneida County)
Water district assessments are not levied in accordance with established water districts' provisions. Auditors found the town board inappropriately changed the assessment basis for five water districts from an ad valorem to a benefit basis. Auditors also found that the assessed value of a property owned by a town board member was reduced by 36 percent without supporting documentation to justify the change.


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