New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Village of Fleischmanns, Village of Old Westbury, Town of Orangetown, Town of Portland, Rockville Centre Housing Authority, Village of Southampton, Westchester Community College and the City of Yonkers.
"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 developed a multiyear financial plan and did not adopt effective budgets because it did not receive accurate and sufficient financial information from the clerk-treasurer. Unpaid property taxes ($101,000) and water bills ($64,000) have severely impacted the village’s financial condition. The board also did not conduct an annual audit of the clerk-treasurer’s records and reports.
The justices correctly reported financial activities to the Justice Court Fund on a monthly basis. However, they did not perform bank reconciliations or accountability analyses on a monthly basis during the audit period. As a result, two of the three judges had cash overages totaling $1,743.
The board did not develop overtime budgets based on known needs and historical trends. Officials did not adequately monitor adopted budgets and allowed them to be over-expended each year. Auditors also found that although the police department’s collective bargaining agreement allows officers to accumulate up to 80 hours of overtime during the year, town officials did not adhere to those limits.
The town’s unaccounted-for water during the past two years was approximately 38 million gallons, or 40 percent of total production. Inaccurate master meters and customer meters have contributed to the unaccounted-for water. Water Districts 1, 3 and 7 reported deficit fund balances as of December 31, 2016, and all but two water districts realized operating deficits in 2016.
The board needs to improve the claims auditing process to ensure all claims are properly audited, adequately supported and for legitimate authority purposes. The board also needs to improve its cash receipt process to ensure cash receipt functions are adequately segregated to safeguard authority assets.
The village’s length of service award program (LOSAP) records for 47 of the department’s 138 active volunteers showed that at least 27 of these volunteers did not receive accurate LOSAP points. This may result in the loss of future benefits for volunteers or, conversely, in the village incurring more LOSAP costs than necessary.
College officials have adopted effective fixed asset policies and procedures. The fixed asset policies and procedures establish the minimum cost to determine when assets should be recorded in the inventory records.
The 2017-18 budget relies on nonrecurring revenue, such as fund balance, to balance its budget. The city could potentially face a shortfall of approximately $1.7 million in revenue if income tax surcharges remain at 2016-17 levels and a shortfall of $515,000 if revenue estimates from the Parking Violations Bureau are not realized. Police overtime costs could potentially be over budget by as much as $2.6 million based on the 2016-17 fiscal year overtime costs.
For access to state and local government spending and 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.