"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."
From 2013 through 2015, the board, on average, underestimated revenues by 7 percent and overestimated expenditures by 18 percent. Additionally, while the board budgeted to use $355,000 of unrestricted fund balance to fund operations, it had operating surpluses totaling almost $416,000, causing total fund balance to increase by 50 percent.
The board did not develop realistic budgets for its four major operating funds. This resulted in operating surpluses which contributed to a steady increase in fund balance levels over the last three years. Furthermore, town officials have not developed a formal plan to use the accumulated balances or adopted a policy for the acceptable levels of fund balance to maintain.
The town has accumulated fund balance totaling $358,706 in the general fund and $515,112 in the highway fund without clear plans for the use of these accumulated funds. Town officials have identified potential uses for the funds including needed repairs at the highway garage or road improvements, but have not developed financial plans to address these needs.
Auditors identified revenue and expenditure projections in the adopted budget that are not reasonable and could result in an increase in the city's accumulated deficit. The city's 2017 budget also includes $600,000 in revenue from the sale of a property that was included in the city's 2016 adopted budget with estimated revenues of $550,000. However, the property did not sell in 2016, and, therefore, the city incurred a revenue shortfall of $550,000.
Company officials have ensured that disbursements were for the benefit of the entire company membership. However, they have not ensured that all cash receipts were deposited in full. Inadequate internal controls increase the risk that disbursements could be made for non-company purposes or receipts collected may not be deposited, and such errors or irregularities may not be detected or corrected.
For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit www.openbooknewyork.com. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.