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October 4, 2011

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits for the Hicksville Fire District, Town of Greenwich, the Town of Portville, Town of Crown Point and the Cuba Lake District.

"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."

Hicksville Fire District - Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Nassau County)
District officials did not solicit competitive proposals or quotations on a consistent basis. Of the seven professional service contracts tested, the district procured four of the contracts, totaling approximately $582,000, without soliciting competition. The board has not adopted a comprehensive information technology or computer policy. The board also authorized financing for constructing the Station 2 firehouse from capital reserve funds at a maximum cost of $3.5 million. However, because the low bid for construction was $3.8 million, and architectural and other costs had increased, the project's total cost increased to $5.1 million.

Town of Greenwich - Internal Controls Over Purchasing (Washington County)
The board has adopted a procurement policy that requires verbal or written quotes for purchases not subject to competitive bidding. However, 19 of the 27 purchases tested, totaling $28,933, did not meet the requirements. In some instances, a town official intentionally split bills to circumvent the policy. In addition, the policy has not been reviewed and updated, and does not address recent changes in the law, resulting in a lack of guidance for certain purchases that are no longer subject to competitive bidding.

Town of Portville - Financial Management (Cattaraugus County)
Town officials did not properly budget or account for revenues and expenditures in the town-wide and town-outside-village funds, as required. As a result, for 2008 through 2010, town-outside-village resources were used for town-wide expenditures totaling $65,575, and during 2009, town-wide resources were used for town-outside-village expenditures totaling $88,998. Town officials continued to improperly budget town-outside-village resources to be used for town-wide expenditures totaling $25,172 in the 2011 budget. The continued errors in budgeting and accounting practices have resulted in taxpayer inequity.

Town of Crown Point - Town Clerk's Office (Essex County)
The board and the clerk did not establish adequate internal controls to ensure that the money she collected was recorded, deposited and remitted in an accurate and timely manner. The clerk did not collect Monitor Bay Campsite rents or deposit all clerk fees, licenses, and water and sewer collections within three business days after the total exceeded $250. In addition, she did not record or deposit real property taxes timely or remit them to the supervisor. Finally, the board did not audit the clerk's records.

Cuba Lake District - Internal Controls Over Cash Disbursements and Financial Reporting (Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties)
Overall, auditors found that the district had established adequate internal controls over cash disbursements and financial reporting.


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