New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Village of Blasdell, Town of Cambria, Town of Canaan, Granville Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Company, Town of Lincklaen, Sempronius Fire Company and the Ulster County Department of Social Services Preschool and Children and Family Services Unit.
"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 village complied with competitive bidding statutes but did not obtain quotes. Quotes should have been obtained for 23 claims totaling approximately $125,600. Although the claims were for appropriate purposes, only five claims included evidence that officials obtained quotes from the vendors providing the goods and/or services.
The board and town officials did not properly plan for the financing of capital projects. The town could have saved approximately $10,200 in issuance costs related to the bonds and approximately $19,200 in annual interest on debt.
The clerk/tax collector did not routinely issue duplicate receipts for clerk's fees or record daily receipts in the check register. She also did not make deposits totaling $11,066 in a timely manner or in the same form (i.e., cash or check) as received. Auditors found discrepancies totaling $11,680 between the cash receipts form shown in the clerk's records and the bank deposit slips for 2016. Also, the clerk/tax collector did not deposit 100 percent of tax collections or remit tax collections totaling $2,794,760 to the supervisor in a timely manner.
The former treasurers and former president who assumed the duties of treasurer did not maintain adequate records to account for all company money received and disbursed. The company's accounting records consisted of only three incomplete manual check registers for the company's three checking accounts (general, bell jar and bingo). Due to the inadequate records, the treasurer was unable to provide the board with written quarterly and annual financial reports as required.
The town accumulated significant fund balance in the general and highway town-wide funds without clear plans to use this money. Town officials have not developed a fund balance policy, established any reserve funds or developed formal long-term capital or financial plans.
The board did not include in its bylaws, or adopt, policies and procedures for cash receipts and fundraising activities. Additionally, the board did not establish a code of ethics or annually audit the treasurer's records. The treasurer also did not maintain detailed financial records for fundraising events.
Ulster County Department of Social Services Preschool and Children and Family Services Unit – Claims Processing (2017M-253)
The department established effective procedures to authorize and audit vendor claims. All contracts contained terms for corporate compliance, holding providers to all county, federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations.
For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 140,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created to promote transparency in government and provide taxpayers with better access to financial data.