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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Town of Seneca Falls - Town Hall Capital Project (2018M-220)

Released: February 22, 2019 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Board provided adequate oversight and management of the Town hall capital project.

Key Findings

  • The Board established an initial amount to be used from its capital reserve for the project of nearly $2.6 million. However, it did not prepare an itemized project budget and did not appropriately monitor the project. As a result, the Town incurred total project costs of approximately $4.55 million.
  • The Board did not appropriately approve 14 change orders totaling approximately $265,000.
  • The Board inadequately planned for the project, which resulted in the need to borrow $885,000 from the Tax Stabilization Reserve to finance additional project costs.

Key Recommendations

  • Approve an initial project cost and itemized capital project budget including all anticipated costs and financing methods, and require periodic financial reports that show actual revenues and expenditures compared to the approved budgets.
  • Approve all change orders prior to the commencement of work.
  • Ensure that the use of reserve funding sources for capital projects are in compliance with applicable statutes and regulations.

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

Background

The Town of Seneca Falls (Town) is located in Seneca County. The Town is governed by an elected Town Board (Board), which is composed of a Town Supervisor (Supervisor) and four Board members. The Board is responsible for the general management and oversight of the Town’s financial operations. The Supervisor serves as the chief executive and chief fiscal officer.

In 2004, the former Town hall was destroyed in a fire caused by arson. For approximately 10 years, members of the Board contemplated different locations and arrangements for a new Town hall. In 2015, the Board approved contracts to build a new facility on Ovid Street to house both the Town offices and police department. Town offices and the police department were moved into the new facility after construction was completed in February 2017.

Quick Facts
Population9,000
Total approved contracts for Town hall capital project$3.56 million
Total project costs (including contracts and other non-contractual costs)$4.55 million

Audit Period

January 1, 2014–July 10, 2018


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