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Malta audit recommends issuing more receipts

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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— The state Comptroller’s Office has recommended better record-keeping for small-cash receipts in the Malta town clerk’s office.

Audit results provided verbally to town officials on Monday found Town Clerk Flo Sickels should be retaining receipts for even small-cash transactions like photocopying fees, but hasn’t been in many instances.

Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office also recommended that a safe be purchased for the town tax collector’s office — something town officials say they will do.

“I think the town is in a pretty good place right now, and these suggestions will make it better,” said Town Supervisor Paul Sausville.

The practices and procedures review was requested by the Town Board after town Tax Receiver Lynda Bablin questioned how the town clerk’s office, in its role as deputy tax receiver, had handled tax receipts last winter. She said an unauthorized deputy town clerk was allowed to handle transactions.

A state comptroller’s representative spent several days at Town Hall in late August.

The only issue the auditors found in the clerk’s office was an absence of receipts, in many cases, for small-cash transactions. It did not find any problem with the tax receipts, but reaffirmed that only a designated deputy tax receiver should handle those payments.

Sickels said she will follow the recommendation to start issuing receipts for all transactions involving fees, including those involving as little as 25 cents.

“We have always asked if they wanted a receipt,” she said. “Now we won’t ask, we’ll just give it to them.”

Because the results of the comptroller’s review were still pending last week when a deadline passed, the Town Board has dropped plans to ask voters this November to abolish the tax receiver’s office and merge it with the clerk’s office. The issue could be brought up again in the future, Sausville said.

“There’s no time frame on this. The job is getting done,” he said.

Voters in 2011 split 71-71 when a special election was held on eliminating the position of tax receiver, which is an elected position that can be abolished only by referendum. The tie vote meant the position remained.

At the time, town officials estimated consolidating the tax receiver and clerk’s offices would save the town about $8,800 per year.

Bablin, who took the job in 2011 on the assumption it would eventually be eliminated, now favors keeping her office separate from the town clerk’s.

 
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