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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

October 23, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Town of Clifton, City of Glen Cove, Smithtown Fire District, Walden Fire District, Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company, West Nyack Fire District and the Town of York.

“In today’s fiscal climate, budget transparency and accountability for our local communities is a top priority,” said DiNapoli. “By auditing municipal finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively.”

Town of Clifton – Financial Management (St. Lawrence County)
The town did not have enough cash to pay all of its bills at the end of fiscal years 2012 or 2013. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the town had a cash deficiency of nearly $325,000, or 24 percent of the next year’s budget. The former supervisor did not provide sufficient oversight of the town bookkeeper to ensure that the town’s records were reliable and to address the town’s cash flow needs. The board did not fulfill its oversight responsibilities by performing a sufficient audit of the supervisor’s books and records.

City of Glen Cove – Budget Review (Nassau County)
Officials are projecting operating deficits for the 2014 fiscal year totaling $269,904 in the general fund and $5,582 in water fund. An operating surplus of $8,762 is projected for the recreation fund. The 2015 proposed budget contains significant financial risks that the City Council should consider when adopting the 2015 budget. Also, city officials have not fully implemented the recommendations in the budget review letter issued on Oct. 15, 2013.

Smithtown Fire District – Capital Project (Suffolk County)
The board approved a reconstruction capital project without complying with permissive referendum requirements. Because district officials failed to publish and post a legal notice on the project prior to approval, the board had to petition the county Legislature to legalize and validate its actions. In addition, the board did not approve change orders totaling more than $50,000 before the work began.

Walden Fire District – Disbursements (Orange County)
The district did not have procedures for disbursements. In addition, the board did not properly segregate the treasurer’s duties or implement effective compensating controls over the treasurer’s work. The board also did not conduct an independent review of the bank statements or ensure that bank reconciliations were performed.

Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. – Cash Disbursements (Albany County)
The board did not audit each claim prior to payment. Instead, the treasurer provides a list of paid disbursements to the board and company members at the meetings. While providing information regarding these disbursements to the board allows it to monitor the company’s disbursements, this is not as effective or as strong a control as reviewing and approving claims before payments are made.

West Nyack Fire District – Claims Processing (Rockland County)
District officials approved payment of claims that did not comply with district policy. More than 61 percent of the credit card transactions reviewed did not have documentation to support the purchase as required by district policy. Expense reports submitted for travel advances did not match the receipts that were submitted. In addition, the reimbursements to district officials for the use of personal cell phones were made without the required cell phone bills. As a result, district taxpayers do not have adequate assurance that all claims paid were for legitimate district expenditures.

Town of York – Budgeting and Financial Oversight (Livingston County)
Town officials have not adopted policies and procedures or long-term financial plans to govern the budget process or the appropriate level of fund balance to be maintained in each fund. As a result, the board did not always adopt accurate budgets and relied heavily on the appropriation of fund balance to balance its budgets. The board did not perform an annual audit of the records of the supervisor and town clerk.

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For access to state and local government spending and nearly 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

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