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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Town of Alexandria - Water and Sewer District Financial Condition (2019M-116)

Released: December 13, 2019 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Town officials effectively managed the financial condition of the water and sewer districts by reasonably estimating budgets and ensuring positive financial results.

Key Findings

Town officials did not effectively manage the financial condition of the water and sewer districts. We found the following:

  • Officials did not budget accurately nor raise sufficient revenues to fund water and sewer operations, which resulted in five districts incurring unplanned operating deficits annually.
  • Five of the seven water and sewer districts had deficit fund balances ranging from $13,620 to $113,900 as of December 31, 2018. These deficit fund balances ranged from 14 to 217 percent of 2019 budget appropriations.
  • Officials relied on interfund advances to finance operations in the five districts during the past three years. The Board did not approve these advances, which totaled more than $312,000 at the end of 2018.

Key Recommendations

  • Review water and sewer billing rates annually and revise them as necessary to ensure sufficient revenues are generated to cover expenditures.
  • Develop reasonable revenue and expenditure estimates and monitor the budgets throughout the year.
  • Develop a plan to address the negative fund balances in the water and sewer districts and repay the interfund loans.

Town officials agreed with our recommendations and indicated they planned to initiate corrective action.

Background

The Town is located in Jefferson County. The Town is governed by an elected Town Board (Board) composed of four members and a Town Supervisor (Supervisor). The Board is responsible for the overall management and oversight of financial operations, including adopting the annual budget and establishing water and sewer user charges. The Supervisor serves as the chief executive officer and budget officer. The Town Clerk is responsible for billing and recording water and sewer user charges. Town officials contracted with a certified public accounting firm to assist the Supervisor with maintaining the financial records and reports.

The Town has five water districts (Carnegie Bay, Edgewood, Otter Street, Redwood and Route 12) serving approximately 373 customers and two sewer districts (Redwood and Route 12) serving approximately 235 customers.

Quick Facts
Population4,061
Employees and Officials34
2018 Water Districts Appropriations$426,143
2018 Sewer Districts Appropriations$234,073

Audit Period

January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2018. We extended our audit period back to January 1, 2016 to review the financial trends and also reviewed the 2019 adopted budget.


Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.ny.gov
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236