New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Ballston Spa Public Library, Bovina Fire District, Brighton Memorial Library, Village of Cape Vincent, Town of Cayuta, Commack Public Library District, Galen-Clyde Joint Fire District, City of Geneva, Town of Malone, Village of Nelliston and Town of Tuscarora.
“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.”
The board has not established procedures for the library’s collection and disbursement of donated funds, or for cash receipts collected at the circulation desk. The treasurer has not maintained adequate records for the money received from donations and fundraising activities.
The district’s available fund balance has accumulated to more than 400 percent of the 2015 budgeted appropriations as of the end of 2014. In addition, the board has not formally established capital reserves.
The library has accumulated more than $750,000 in private funds as of the end of 2014 and it has no formal plan to use the money. The library maintains approximately $627,000 in mutual funds, fixed income securities and cash equivalents with two investment brokerage firms; these are improper investments at unauthorized financial institutions.
Payroll duties are not adequately segregated and there is no periodic management review of transactions, certification of payrolls or review of leave records. The board also did not clearly document its authorization of compensation for all village employees.
The board did not adopt, review, update or enforce adequate financial policies to ensure town resources were protected. The former clerk did not routinely issue duplicate receipts, record daily cash receipts properly, or make deposits intact. As a result, auditors identified a cash shortage of $465.
District officials did not adopt a procurement policy as required by state law. The board did not ensure disbursements from the discretionary fund were made in accordance with district bylaws. In addition, the board appointed an independent contractor as treasurer.
The board could not appropriately monitor the district budget because it did not receive budget status reports. Auditors found the district routinely overspent its budget for the three-year period from 2011 through 2013. In addition, the board did not implement appropriate policies to protect information technology assets.
The city adopted unrealistic budgets from 2012-2014 because the manager did not use historical trends or prior year amounts when producing budgets. During this same time, fund balance was appropriated to finance operations and overall fund balance levels decreased significantly.
The justices did not properly segregate cash receipt duties and did not provide oversight for receiving, depositing, recording and reporting cash receipts. In addition, accurate and complete bail records were not maintained and bank reconciliations and accountability analyses were not performed for all court bank accounts. The town also lacked comprehensive policies and procedures for preparing and processing payroll and maintaining leave time accruals for highway department employees.
The board did not establish policies and procedures to provide guidance to village employees or implement sufficient controls over leave accruals and payroll timekeeping to ensure that leave time was accurately accounted for.
The town supervisor signed checks and reviewed monthly reports, but did not review bank reconciliations to ensure information recorded and reported was accurate. The board has not received any monthly financial reports since February 2015.
For access to state and local government spending and nearly 50,000 state contracts, visit OpenBookNY. 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.