New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following local government audits were issued.
The supervisor did not properly appoint, and the board and supervisor did not properly monitor, the bookkeeper. The supervisor appointed the town clerk as bookkeeper which is an incompatibility of office and duties. As a result, checks and balances over the powers and duties of these positions was not maintained. The supervisor also did not ensure the clerk, while acting as the supervisor’s bookkeeper, prepared and filed the town’s annual update documents as required. The board did not audit the town’s books and records, as required.
The justices did not always ensure money due to the court was collected, deposited, recorded and reported in an accurate and timely manner. The justices deposited 220 collections totaling $35,771 after the three-day limit. The justices did not perform bank reconciliations and monthly accountabilities. As a result, six collections that were not correctly deposited were not identified. In addition, auditors found their combined cash balances exceeded liabilities by $4,129. The justices cannot account for the source of this money.
Officials did not adequately safeguard information technology (IT) resources. Although the town paid an IT service provider more than $98,000 in 2019, officials did not define the provider’s responsibilities. Specifically, officials did not establish a comprehensive IT policy or monitor employee Internet use. Officials also did not implement comprehensive procedures for managing, and monitoring user access to, the town’s network and computers. Fourteen user accounts belonged to former employees who left town employment one month to 15 years before the auditors’ review. In addition, officials did not have a written contract with the town’s IT provider that described specific services to be provided. Sensitive IT control weaknesses were communicated confidentially to officials.
The board adopted structurally balanced budgets. However, it could improve budgeting practices and be more transparent with how it budgets for the general and highway funds. The board gave taxpayers the impression that real property taxes were levied to finance general town operations when these taxes were intended to fund highway operations. During DiNapoli’s audit period, from 2018 through 2021, the board levied additional real property taxes in each general fund (town-wide and town-outside-village) and made transfers totaling $869,428 to each applicable highway fund.
The board and officials did not develop and adopt realistic budgets, maintain reasonable levels of fund balance or properly plan for equipment replacement. The board consistently overestimated appropriations and underestimated revenues. As a result, unrestricted fund balance in the four major operating funds increased by $811,100 (67%) in the past four years to more than $2 million as of Dec. 31, 2020. The board also did not establish and adopt the following comprehensive written plans or policies: a multiyear financial plan; capital plan; fund balance policy; or reserve policies.
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