New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following local government audits have been issued.
The board did not effectively monitor expenditures and fund balance. As a result, the unrestricted fund balance deficit increased to as much as $171,492 during the audit period. Auditors also determined that the board did not properly plan for the funding of and spending from reserves. In addition, the board transferred unavailable funds to its capital reserves, and expended funds from reserves without adequate public notice; for example, transfers to reserves totaling $593,941 and expenditures from reserves totaling $841,477 that were not included in the budgets.
The board maintained a lax control environment and did not carry out its responsibility to oversee district financial operations and safeguard district assets. Auditors determined that the board allowed the treasurer to perform all key aspects of district financial operations without providing independent oversight.
Significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable.
Although the city appears to have budgeted sufficiently for termination salary payments for the 2020-21 fiscal year, auditors caution the city that its continued practice of borrowing to fund these operating costs is not fiscally prudent. The city has improved its projections for overtime costs in certain departments. However, it does not appear that the total appropriation will be sufficient. The city’s proposed budget includes a tax levy of $46.6 million which is $4,136 above the limit established by law.
The board’s budgets were incomplete because the real property tax levy and a schedule of other estimated revenues were not included. Auditors also determined that the board did not adopt a fund balance policy or establish targeted funding levels for its reserve funds. In addition, the treasurer did not maintain accurate and reliable accounting records.
The Office of Public Administrator (PA) guidelines regarding the sale of estate real property state that the PA shall determine fair market value and sell all real property or cooperative apartments at public auction or by private sale at the highest and best price available. Auditors determined that the administrator did not always get a professional appraisal for estate houses before listing them for sale.
The board did not annually audit the records of the supervisor or town clerk. Auditors also found that the board did not perform a deliberate and thorough audit of claims.
The records maintained by the treasurer were not complete. Auditors found two actions, totaling $30,455, in the treasurer’s custody that were not recorded on the annual report sent to the State Comptroller’s Office as required. In addition, auditors identified one action for $28,204.84 that improperly remained in the treasurer’s custody that should have been turned over to the State Comptroller as abandoned property
Under the proposed budget, the city will have exhausted 80.1 percent of its constitutional tax limit. Auditors caution the city that if property values do not increase, its ability to increase taxes may be reduced in future years.
Personal internet use was found on computers assigned to 10 employees, including four who routinely accessed personal, private and sensitive information (PPSI). Auditors found town officials did not adequately manage user accounts. In addition, the board did not develop a disaster recovery plan.
Sensitive information technology (IT) control weaknesses were communicated confidentially to officials.
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