Charleston faces state audit

The state comptroller’s office is planning to audit the town of Charleston, whose supervisor, frustr

The state comptroller’s office is planning to audit the town of Charleston, whose supervisor, frustrated by the state’s refusal to accept financial records on paper, hasn’t submitted the data for five years.

Municipalities are required to provide annual financial reports, which the comptroller’s office uses to do research and gauge financial health.

The reports look at several areas, including general fund, highway fund, capital projects, fixed assets, fire protection and general long-term debt. The annual financial report also includes a statement of indebtedness, schedule of time deposits and investments, bank reconciliation, a local government questionnaire, a schedule of employee and retiree benefits and a schedule of energy costs and consumption.

The town last sent in a report for the 2003 fiscal year, according to the state comptroller’s office.

The office has sent repeated letters to the town requesting reports, but to no avail, and municipalities that don’t submit them rise to the top of the list of those the state decides to audit, comptroller’s office spokesman Bill Reynolds said.

Reynolds said failure to submit the data is not unheard of and officials cite various reasons for not complying, such as the lack of resources or equipment.

Charleston Town Supervisor Shayne Walters this week said he admits that it’s his responsibility to get the information to the state but said he went through a frustrating process back in 2005 trying to get the town’s computers to accommodate programming needed to send the information electronically.

Walters said he urged state representatives to accept the documentation in paper form, but they wanted the electronic version so he ultimately gave up on it.

“I know what they’re going to say, ‘You should have kept trying,’ ” Walters said.

Walters said all of the town’s financial information is accounted for monthly and recorded in two different forms.

The town of roughly 1,300 people operates with a budget of just less than $1 million, including the general and highway funds, Walters said.

“What’s been spent, what’s left over, every dollar is recorded,” Walters said.

Walters said he believes the town was last audited in 1993.

Reynolds said the comptroller’s office staff is expecting to initiate the audit within the next few weeks.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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