New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today the following audits and examinations have been issued:
The New York Agricultural Districts Law allows reduced property tax bills for land in agricultural production by limiting the property tax assessment of the land to its prescribed per-acre Agricultural Assessment Value (AAV). Auditors identified an error in the Tax Department's calculation in 2006 that caused subsequent years' AAVs to be incorrect, including those certified and communicated to local assessors during the audit period. This resulted in about $10.4 million in excess agricultural exemptions granted to program property owners during the three-year period 2014 through 2016 for 10,416 properties in the eight counties analyzed. Because of the excess exemptions, an estimated $349,069 in real property taxes were not collected.
An initial audit issued in October 2015 found that NYRA lacked a formal long-term capital planning process for Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) revenues. The annual capital plans used by NYRA lacked supporting documentation for the resources and costs associated with the listed projects and NYRA did not have a formal project management system to effectively monitor capital project status. Auditors also found NYRA used VLT revenues for operating expenses, which was not in accordance with prescribed professional standards. In a follow-up, auditors found NYRA made some progress in addressing the issues identified.
An initial audit report issued in June 2016, assessed NYRA's financial condition. Auditors found that although NYRA's overall financial condition was sound, its traditional racing-related operations continued to produce multi-million-dollar annual deficits. Also, NYRA had paid certain expenses that were not ordinary or necessary for racing operations, which contributed to NYRA's racing-related deficits. In a follow-up, auditors found NYRA made some progress in addressing the issues identified.
State Education Department (SED)/Division of State Police (DSP): Compliance With the Enough is Enough Act (2017-S-38)
Auditors found SED has made progress in complying with some of its key responsibilities under the act, however, it has fallen behind meeting or completing others. SED's implementation time frames resulted in delays in meeting certain requirements, including reporting critical incident data to the Governor and Legislature. SED may not meet the reporting requirement until late 2019 – two years later than the act requires. DSP has met its responsibilities under the act.
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA): New York State Supplemental Payments (SSP) Made to Deceased Individuals (2016-BSE7-01)
OTDA administers the New York SSP, which provides a supplemental benefit to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and other qualifying state residents. Auditors found OTDA processed 553 SSP payments totaling approximately $42,000 to 78 individuals who died from 1 to more than 16 years prior to their last SSP payment in the examination period. Of the 553 payments, 380 were transacted, meaning the payment was either electronically deposited into the recipient's bank account or the recipient's check was negotiated. The remaining 173 payments were either stopped, escheated or remain uncashed.
OTDA processed 105 SSP payments totaling $6,870 to 14 state employees who were ineligible to receive benefits because the wages they earned exceeded the SSP income eligibility limits. As a result of the findings, OTDA determined the daily file from the Social Security Administration contained incorrect income eligibility information for an additional 3,000 SSP recipients. Officials planned to correct these 3,000 recipients' records.
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