New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Village of Avon, Town of Bolton, McLean Fire Department, South Farmingdale Fire District, Westchester County Department of Social Services 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."
Auditors identified improper accounting practices and related recording and reporting inaccuracies reflected in the accounting records and monthly reports to the board. The treasurer inaccurately recorded capital reserves and operating fund expenditures. In addition, the board inappropriately authorized the use of capital reserve funds for non-capital expenditures.
The board's use of UDAG repayment money totaling $4.5 million for long-term loans to fund capital projects was not consistent with their adopted policy to use the money as revolving loans for local business development.
Cash controls over fundraising activities need to be improved to ensure that amounts collected are properly recorded and deposited. During the audit period, department officials held 26 fundraising events. While two members counted cash collected at fundraisers, they did not record and certify the amounts collected on cash reporting forms before submitting money to the treasurer.
District officials overestimated appropriations by more than $535,000, or 12 percent of actual expenditures from 2014 through 2016. The district paid $15,747 for 635 hours of leave benefits that were not authorized by the board.
For eight of nine contracts reviewed, department officials obtained and reviewed backup documentation to verify that services were performed as required before authorizing payments. Department officials did not obtain and review backup documentation for one contract with payments totaling $1.7 million.
If the school district's request to use fund balance is not approved or available at year end, the district could have a $24.1 million budget gap. The city's revenue estimates for metered water sales and income tax surcharge may not be achievable. The city will incur additional debt and interest costs by bonding the cost of tax certiorari claims instead of financing them through the operating budget.
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