Tuesday, February 5, 2013


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Comptroller releases municipal, school audits

ALBANY -  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office completed audits of the Big Flats Fire District #2, Golden Glow Volunteer Fire Company, Lincoln Fire District and Village of Richmondville.  Also released were audits of the Hadley-Luzerne Central School District and the Hyde Park Central School District

Big Flats Fire District #2 – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Chemung County)
The district entered into a three-year lease with the Golden Glow Volunteer Fire Company for the use of two existing fire houses and the use of a new fire house beginning in 2013. The lease doubled the district’s annual rent payment to $30,000. The district board, however, did not prepare a financial plan to determine if the district could pay the increased rent and stay within its mandated spending limit. Further, the district board has not established written policies and procedures for cash receipts and disbursements, claims processing or information technology.

Golden Glow Volunteer Fire Company – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Chemung County)
The fire company did not adequately plan for the construction of a new firehouse. Because the company did not solicit competitive bids for this large building project, it cannot be assured it obtained the best price. Furthermore, the company’s plan to repay the debt issued to finance construction is based on contingencies such as the sale of two existing firehouses, continuation of increased rent and fundraising estimates that far exceed amounts raised in the past. Auditors also found the company’s officers and directors did not establish written policies governing cash receipts and disbursements.

Lincoln Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Madison County)
The district board claims to conduct regular internal reviews of the secretary-treasurer’s financial records, bank statements and canceled checks. Officials, however, could not provide auditors with any written evidence of this review. The treasurer did not file the required annual financial reports with OSC for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 fiscal years. The district board was unable to provide auditors with an adopted investment policy and a code of ethics, which are required by law.

Village of Richmondville – Disbursements (Schoharie County)
The village board and mayor did not ensure that only authorized disbursements were made. Payments totaling $1,386 were made to the clerk-treasurer without board approval and all employees had incorrect amounts withheld for health insurance. In addition, 447 checks totaling approximately $325,000 were inappropriately paid prior to board audit.


School audits:

Hadley-Luzerne Central School District – Financial Condition (Warren County)
The school board adopted budgets during the audit period that cut costs by abolishing positions, outsourcing services or sharing them with other districts, and saving money on energy costs. Given the school district’s declining enrollment and the current economic climate, cost-cutting is prudent. The district’s unexpended surplus funds, however, have exceeded the legal limit during the past two years.

Hyde Park Central School District – Financial Management Practices (Dutchess County)
Auditors found from 2008 to 2011, the school board overestimated expenditures by approximately $1.9 million. The district’s tax certiorari fund was overfunded between $207,000 and $636,000 during these fiscal years. Additionally, the former district treasurer did not prepare and present monthly reports to the school board.