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September 12, 2012

 

Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Village of Ballston Spa, Town of Colonie, Eastchester Fire District, Town of Hinsdale, Mohawk Fire District, Owasco Fire Department, Town of Peru, Town of Redhouse and the Town of Waterford.

"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."

Village of Ballston Spa – Financial Condition and Records and Reports (Saratoga County)
The board did not adopt realistic budgets, have adequate records to monitor financial operations or take appropriate action to maintain financial stability. As a result, deficits in the sewer fund increased 287 percent from $67,336 in 2005-06 to $260,720 in 2009-10. Further, the village board failed to prevent the over expenditure of 50 individual account appropriations totaling $492,119 during 2010 and another 55 accounts totaling $393,739 during 2011.

Town of Colonie – Financial Condition (Albany County)
The town's financial condition has been improving since 2008 due to increases in the tax levy and budget restructuring. In addition, in August 2011, town officials signed a 25-year agreement to operate the landfill that effectively eliminated previous deficits in the general fund and the landfill fund. However, town officials now need to address the reported $576,000 deficit in the highway fund. They also still need to improve the budget format to make it more informative and useful, and adopt structurally sound budgets where recurring revenues fund appropriations.

Eastchester Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Westchester County)
The district board did not properly develop or monitor the fire district's budget and over-expended funds on various budget line items, which caused an operating deficit of $195,000 in 2011. The board did not develop a capital plan to address the district's deteriorating infrastructure. Additionally, district financial records did not comply with accounting standards and the district board did not develop a policy or procedures for auditing claims.

Town of Hinsdale – Justice Court (Cattaraugus County)
Internal controls over the court's financial activities were deficient. These internal control weaknesses resulted in known liabilities exceeding available court assets for a cash shortage of $5,394. The town justice failed to finalize and submit her records to town officials prior to her resignation. Auditors also identified numerous control deficiencies in the court's operations.

Mohawk Fire District – Board Oversight and Internal Controls Over Cash Disbursements (Montgomery County)
The former district treasurer issued three unauthorized checks totaling $1,000 to herself without the board's detection. This occurred because the board failed to establish a sound internal control structure through formal policies and procedures. Proper controls would have alerted the district board to the misappropriation of district funds. The board has contacted law enforcement officials about the theft of district money.

Owasco Fire Department – Internal Controls Over Financial Activity (Cayuga County)
The department's board does not provide adequate oversight of financial activities. Although the treasurer maintained appropriate financial records, she did not provide monthly or annual financial reports to the board and did not prepare formal bank reconciliations. The board did not complete a thorough audit of the treasurer's records as required by its by-laws.

Town of Peru – Fiscal Oversight (Clinton County)
The town board and town supervisor have not provided effective oversight of the town's financial operations. Poor management oversight has contributed to the town having incomplete and inaccurate accounting records. Therefore, the board could not rely on the accounting records to monitor financial operations and determine the financial condition of the town's operating funds and capital projects.

Town of Redhouse – Internal Controls Over Financial Records (Cattaraugus County)
There is a lack of internal controls over the town's financial records. Due to the town supervisor's lack of adequate record keeping, cash and bank balances do not agree, and the annual financial report has not been completed since 2008. In addition, the town board's inadequate annual audit of the supervisor's records failed to note the inconsistencies.

Town of Waterford – Financial Condition (Saratoga County)
Auditors found that for 2011, the town board's budget estimates were reasonable and project an operating surplus in the corresponding funds with each having reasonable levels of fund balance for the year ending December 31, 2011. The 2012 budget estimates also appear reasonable and sufficient to maintain the town's financial stability. However, the town board has not adopted or developed a written multi-year financial plan.


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