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Yates submits action plan to state comptroller after critical audit

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 January 2019 at 8:35 am

YATES – The Yates Town Board approved a corrective action plan last month and sent it to the Office of the State Comptroller after a critical audit in October.

The comptroller’s audit said there isn’t missing money or misappropriated funds in Yates. However, the comptroller said Yates hasn’t kept adequate financial records or provided adequate oversight to the town bookkeeper.

The town spends about $1.3 million each year. The report covered Jan. 1, 2016 to July 17, 2018. (Click here to see the audit.)

The Office of Comptroller said the town’s fund balance had a deficit of $86,345 as of December 31, 2016 and should have been better monitored. The Office of the Comptroller issued the following recommendations:

• Ensure that financial records are complete, accurate and up-to-date.

• Provide effective oversight of the bookkeeper.

• Provide the Town Board adequate, comprehensive and up-to-date monthly financial reports.

• Address the financial problems affecting the general town-wide fund when adopting the 2019 budget.

Town Supervisor James Simon said in an Oct. 5 letter to the Office of the State Comptroller that he and the town had already implemented some of the recommendations. Simon, for example, now does an expanded Supervisor’s Monthly Report. Yates has also eliminated the bookkeeper position in favor of a professional services contract with Millennium Roads LLC in Lyndonville. It has approved a fund balance policy to address the general town-wide fund.

“As a relatively new town supervisor, I appreciate the recommendations,” Simon wrote to the Office of the State Comptroller on Oct. 5. “I understand that the audit did not find any hint of misappropriated or missing funds, and that the town’s overall financial condition is sound. I recognize the importance of providing more comprehensive financial management, of ensuring better oversight of the bookkeeping function, and of developing a viable fund balance policy.”

The Town Board on Dec. 27 approved a corrective action plan and submitted it to the Office of the Comptroller.

The plan of action includes additional monthly reports about the town’s financial records that include revenue/expense control and balance sheets (assets, liabilities, reserves and fund balance) reports. (This has already been implemented by the town.)

The town worked with Millennium Roads to utilize accounting software so Yates isn’t maintaining two cash ledgers. That was implemented last month.

The comptroller said the town needs to ensure bank reconciliations for all amounts are performed timely and properly. Simon said Millennium will provide summaries of the bank reconciliation for all accounts and will review for accuracy and to resolve any discrepancies. That is to be implemented by Jan. 31.

The town supervisor’s monthly reports now include all money received and disbursed, cash balances and detailed year-to-date budget-to-actual comparisons of revenues and expenditures for each fund, according to the corrective action plan.

The Town Board on Dec. 13 also passed a new fund balance policy in coordination with the Office of the State Comptroller. The town said it will take about three years to build up the fund balance. That time is needed so Yates can stay under the state tax cap, town officials wrote in the corrective action plan.

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