|
|
|
The Dansville Online
  • Comptroller cites Wayland town on financial oversight

  • An audit from the state Comptroller's Office released last week cited the Town of Wayland, saying the town board "did not fulfill its fiscal oversight responsibilities."



    The audit looked at the town's fiscal operations from Jan. 1, 2009 to July 28, 2011.

    • email print
  • An audit from the state Comptroller's Office released last week cited the Town of Wayland, saying the town board "did not fulfill its fiscal oversight responsibilities."
    The audit looked at the town's fiscal operations from Jan. 1, 2009 to July 28, 2011.
    Among the audit's key findings were that the town did not have a contractual agreement with its accounting firm, the town supervisor did not appropriately monitor the firm and the town board did not perform an annual audit of town records and reports.
    The board did not monitor compliance with its procurement policy, the audit also said.
    Town supervisor George Ott said last week that the town has already addressed issues raised by the audit.
    "We changed what they suggested, corrected everything they indicated," he said. "We did it while they were here, we didn't wait until the report."
    Ott said he believes it has been ten years since the last time the town was audited.
    The audit said the town did not properly budget for town-wide or town-outside-village funds, causing the town's general fund to be depleted while the "combined fund balance of the general fund town-outside-village and highway town-outside-vilage funds became excessive."
    The town supervisor incorrectly budgeted $450,000 in sales tax revenue the town received in 2009 and 2010 in general and highway town funds, the audit said.
    "Consequently, the sales tax revenues were not used to reduce real property taxes in the town-outside-village funds," the audit said.
    Inter-fund transfers were made in 2010 to correct the inequity, the audit said, but the correction decreased the general fund's balance to $24,327, only six percent of the following year's appropriations.
    The total balance of the town-outside village and highway-town-outside village funds was $640,479, 149 percent of the next year's appropriations. Effort to reduce the size of the combined town-outside-village funds in 2011, brought the fund balance to $635,402. In 2012, the report said, the board budgeted to reduce the fund balance by $246,772 rather than levy any real property taxes and only requested $60,000 in county sales tax revenue.
    The audit said the town supervisor did not adequately monitor the accounting firm's activities, including preparing and printing town checks, filing the town's payroll reports and making electronic fund transfers to government agencies from a town bank account.
    Accounting records were accurate and complete, the audit found after a review of payroll and withholdings from fourth quarter 2010. But, it said stronger oversight was needed from the town supervisor.
    "...There is an increased risk that errors or irregularities could occur in Town records or payments and not be detected or corrected," the audit report said.
    The town board also failed to audit the financial records of the town supervisor or town clerk in 2009 or 2010, as required by law, the audit found.
    Page 2 of 2 - The audit recommended the board establish a written contract with its accounting firm, perform an annual audit of reports and records of town officers and employees, regularly monitor purchases by town officials or employees and continue to attempt to reduce the "excessive fund balance in the town-outside-village funds."
    The town supervisor should oversee the the accounting firm's work, the audit recommended.
    A letter from Ott in response to the audit criticized what he called its focus on risks rather than the town's financial accuracies.
    "Your focus on risk rather than accuracy disturbs me," he wrote. "I would ask that the page 6 summary be changed to reflect the accuracy of our books and the risk factors as secondary. I would also like it written as more factual and less indicative of incompetence by myself and my Board."
    Ott also said in the letter that he had increased his oversight of the town's accounting firm, "there is no aspect of my towns finances that I do not have my hand in," he said.
    He also said the town's 2012 budget will be audited in February, its procurement policy has been changed and the combined fund balance is being used "for tax relief in a responsible way."
    The Comptroller's Office responded to Ott's letter in a comment included in the audit, which in part said, "Our audit identifies a variety of internal control weaknesses that need to be improved. Although we found the accounting records to be currently accurate and complete, the Town needs to improve its controls, as it indicates it will, to help ensure this will continue."
    Last week, Ott said the auditors did their job, the town had corrected issues that were raised and that it is ready to move on.
     
      • calendar