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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Town of Shawangunk - Sewer District Charges (2018M-122)

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

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Town properly charged the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) for sewer services.

Key Findings

  • The Town:
    • Did not have a written agreement or basis for rates charged to DOCCS for sewer services.
    • Charged sewer district (District) users more than was necessary. District users, including outside users, paid $2.1 million more than the total expenditures. Charges to DOCCS alone exceeded expenditures by $1.4 million.
  • The District had an excessive fund balance of $4.4 million as of December 31, 2017 or a balance in excess of 844 percent of the District’s average annual expenditures.

Key Recommendations

  • Consult with the Town Attorney to determine whether a written agreement with DOCCS is necessary to clarify rates to be billed and protect District taxpayers.
  • Prepare an analysis annually to determine the appropriate rates to be charged to users based on annual expenses.

Town officials disagreed with certain aspects of our findings and recommendations, but indicated they planned to implement some of our recommendations. Appendix B includes our comments on the issues raised in the Town’s response letter.

Background

The Town of Shawangunk (Town) is located in Ulster County and has a District that provides sewer services to the Hamlet of Wallkill and two correctional facilities: the Wallkill Correctional Facility and Shawangunk Correctional Facility which are operated by DOCCS.

The Town is governed by a five-member elected Town Board (Board) composed of the Town Supervisor (Supervisor) and four Town Council members. The District’s 2018 budget is $594,309 for operating, maintenance and debt service costs, funded primarily by user fees and assessments.

Quick Facts
Customers487
2013 - 2017 Other Sewer Revenue$698,348
2013 - 2017 DOCCS Payments$4,039,084
2013 - 2017 Sewer Expenditures$2,625,772
2017 Fund Balance$4,433,812

Audit Period

January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2017
We extended our scope back to July 2008 to review Board minutes.


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