New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Half Hollow Hills Community Library, City of Newburgh, Onondaga County Probation Department, Town of Skaneateles and the City of Tonawanda.
"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 library's fund balance policy does not address the maintenance of surplus fund balance or how the board expects to use surplus funds and the timeframe for doing so. As of the 2016-17 fiscal year-end, the level of unrestricted fund balance retained by the library was $4.7 million, or 72 percent of operating expenditures, and there is no plan for the use of these surplus funds.
The significant revenue projections in the proposed budget are reasonable. However, there were errors in the projections for expenditures that should be addressed prior to adoption of the budget. For example, the city underestimated pension costs by $576,193 and the proposed budget did not include $841,622 in general fund debt service. In addition, based on projections, the amounts budgeted for police and firefighting overtime is likely underestimated by more than $800,000. Also, the city's proposed budget does not comply with the property tax levy limit.
Department officials did not properly assess county fees or adequately monitor and enforce fee collection. In addition, the department has not established adequate cash receipt and disbursement procedures. Auditors also revealed that the county has failed to disburse more than $60,000 in restitution payments to crime victims.
Auditors reviewed 125 agricultural, senior citizens and veterans exemptions and found 84 (67 percent) lacked adequate supporting documentation such as renewal forms, income support and military records to verify eligibility.
Auditors found city officials have not adopted an acceptable use policy or implemented procedures to properly monitor computer use. City employees were not provided with IT security awareness training. In addition, the city did not maintain an inventory of IT assets.
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