New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Bay Shore Fire District, Hartsdale Volunteer Fire Company, Town of Neversink, Village of Ossining, Walton Fire Department and the City of Watervliet.
"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."
Officials did not maintain time records for the teasurer's or secretary's time worked. For all other full-time employees, the manager kept a handwritten diary that included, among other information, his observations of when employees started and ended work each day, worked overtime or used accrued leave. When the manager was not at work, no other district official maintained this diary.
The board did not provide oversight or ensure the treasurer's duties were adequately segregated or monitored. The treasurer did not maintain accurate accounting records or prepare and provide the board with monthly financial reports.
Although the board has not developed formal fund balance and reserve policies or comprehensive multiyear financial and capital plans, it has used available fund balance and reserves to avoid significant real property tax increases. The board adopted realistic budgets from 2014 through 2016 and real property tax levies have remained relatively stable. Town officials appropriately used the machinery capital reserve to replace equipment as planned.
The board has not developed or implemented any parking ticket collection policies. Although village officials implemented procedures for collecting parking fines, the procedures are limited to the contractor sending delinquency notices and reporting non-payers to the Department of Motor Vehicles. As a result, the number of unpaid parking tickets more than doubled, from 1,637 in 2012 to 3,256 in 2016.
The department has 14 bank accounts covering department, emergency squad, bingo and bell jar operations. Records for the bingo and bell jar accounts are maintained by their respective treasurers and list all disbursements and receipts. However, the department treasurer does not maintain complete accounting records of disbursements and receipts or running cash balances for the department and squad accounts.
While the city's budgets were realistic, general fund budgets for the period reviewed were not structurally balanced. Because of revenue shortfalls, the city issued a $1 million revenue anticipation note in November 2016. The city's fund balance declined during fiscal years 2014 through 2016 for each of the operating funds, and the sewer fund had a deficit fund balance at the end of all three fiscal years.
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