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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

January 26, 2022

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following local government audits were issued.

Town of Highlands – Receiver of Taxes and Assessments (Orange County)

The former receiver, who resigned during the audit, did not properly bill, collect or disburse taxes, fees and penalties. The board did not correct deficiencies noted in the 2006 Receiver of Taxes audit, properly oversee the receiver’s work, or establish adequate internal controls. Auditors found discrepancies totaling approximately $92,000 including unsupported billing adjustments, parcels not being billed, unaccounted for money, and unassessed penalties on late payments. The receiver did not create some sewer and water accounts and did not bill 70 accounts.

Town of Highlands – Water and Sewer Funds’ Financial Condition (Orange County)

The board did not effectively manage the town’s financial condition of the water and sewer funds. The board did not monitor and amend the budgets, and the water fund has had a negative unassigned fund balance since 2016. As of Dec. 31, 2020, the unassigned fund balance was negative $370,229, and the water fund owes $490,922 to other funds. Loans from other funds were not repaid by the end of the fiscal year, as required. For 2016-2020, officials budgeted for debt payments and reserve transfers that did not happen totaling $430,000.

Ridge Fire District – Board Oversight of Treasurer’s Fiscal Duties (Suffolk County)

The board did not provide adequate oversight of the treasurer’s fiscal duties and could not explain why the bank balances presented on the treasurer’s reports for three consecutive months contained discrepancies totaling $2.96 million. Auditors also found thorough monthly reports were not prepared and shared with the board. Bank reconciliations were not always accurate or timely, resulting in a $10,244 discrepancy between the district’s accounting records and bank statements.

St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency – Local Development Corporation (LDC)

Although the tested disbursements were for valid purposes, LDC officials did not always ensure they were properly authorized and supported. Officials did not perform supervisory reviews of canceled check images and journal entries and paid $300,000 during the audit period ($200,000 annually) to the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency without a written agreement detailing the services to be provided and the basis for the payment.

Track state and local government spending at Open Book New York. Under State Comptroller DiNapoli’s open data initiative, search millions of state and local government financial records, track state contracts, and find commonly requested data.