New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Village of Dansville, Town of Moreau, New Hope Fire Department, Real Property Tax Exemptions Administration, Town of Shandaken, Village of Spencer, Village of Suffern 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 did not adequately segregate the water and sewer billing and collection process. In addition, the board does not properly monitor water loss.
The budgeted revenues and appropriations of the town-wide general fund were reasonable as compared to the actual revenues and expenditures. However, the board adopted unrealistic estimates of revenues and appropriations in the part-town general, part-town highway, sewer and water funds.
The board has not established written policies and procedures for cash disbursements or reviewed monthly bank reconciliations. Additionally, the board did not establish written policies and procedures for debit card usage or review the bank statements and supporting documentation to ensure debit card transactions are for appropriate department purposes.
Auditors examined real property tax exemptions in ten towns and found 51 percent of those reviewed lacked one or more pieces of supporting documentation to verify eligibility. Some exemptions lacked proper applications, renewal forms or supporting documentation. Auditors also found some town assessors misclassified or failed to grant properly supported exemptions.
Town officials overpaid health insurance buyout incentives to two employees by more than $4,900 and underpaid incentives to two employees by $1,680 during the audit period. Town officials also did not properly withhold employee contributions for health insurance coverage.
The board does not periodically review bank statements, bank reconciliations or any other supporting records. Additionally, the board does not perform the required annual audit of the Clerk-Treasurer’s records and reports, further diminishing its ability to monitor the village’s financial operations
Significant revenue and expenditure projections in the tentative budget are reasonable. However, the village budgeted $4.2 million in water meter and sewer revenue, but based on collections of water and sewer rents in prior years, auditors estimate the 2018-19 collections will be approximately $3.9 million.
City officials need to improve their planning and monitoring of capital projects and the use of bond proceeds. Auditors found officials did not ensure accounting records were accurate, supported and complete and they did not consistently apply accounting principles or adequately account for financial transactions that affected the city’s operations. Additionally, city officials did not perform internal audits or conduct assessments of internal controls as required.
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