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What you need to know for 07/25/2017

State comptroller again critical of Victory’s books

State comptroller again critical of Victory’s books

The state Comptroller’s Office says the tiny Saratoga County village of Victory has not implemented,

The state Comptroller’s Office says the tiny Saratoga County village of Victory has not implemented, or only partially implemented, recommendations made in a state audit three years ago.

In 2010, the Comptroller’s Office did a complete audit of village finances, making eight recommendations.

State examiners returned to the village of 605 residents in February to see what progress was being made in improving the village’s financial management.

“Based on our limited procedures, it appears that the village has made limited progress in implementing our recommendations,” said a letter from the Comptroller’s Office to new Victory Mayor Patrick Dewey.

Dewey had been a village trustee before being elected mayor in March. The previous mayor, James Sullivan, decided not to seek re-election and supported people calling for the village to be dissolved and become part of the town of Saratoga. Village voters defeated the dissolution proposal in a March 19 vote.

Of the eight audit recommendations just two were fully implemented, two were not implemented and four were partially implemented.

The state recommended, for example, that the village should have an annual audit of the clerk-treasurer’s financial records and reports. This suggestion was not implemented.

“According to the clerk-treasurer [Maureen Kemmet] for the last completed fiscal year [2011-12], one of the trustees reviewed records of cash disbursements and the related spreadsheets, which contain data of monthly revenues and disbursements by account code but records of cash receipts were not reviewed,” said the state letter to Mayor Dewey, dated April 5.

The village board did, however, obtain the services of an accounting firm to help prepare the village’s annual report to the Office of the State Comptroller but this is not considered an annual audit, the letter said.

Mayor Dewey could not be reached Friday to comment on the Comptroller’s letter. The letter does not indicate there were any financial irregularities or any money missing from village accounts in recent years.

The Comptroller’s Office also found that the village had not installed a “proper financial accounting system” and trained the clerk-treasurer to use it. The accounting computer software is only used to process payroll and cash disbursements. The clerk-treasurer doesn’t maintain a general ledger or use the other computer modules available in the accounting software, the letter says.

However, the clerk-treaurer plans to consult with the village’s accounting firm about integrating the other computer modules into her financial reporting.

The village partially implemented the recommendation that the village board should establish a policy that required the village clerk-treasurer to account for the village's financial operations and submit periodic reports to the board.

The Comptroller’s letter says that the clerk-treasurer submits reports on a monthly basis that include cash receipts and disbursements, a check list, a payroll report, and the current amount of fund balances.

The letter says that “although the village has improved in this area, the board still doesn’t receive additional usual financial reports like budget status, balance sheets, and trial balances.”

The village has also only partially implemented a recommendation that the clerk-treasurer should issue sequentially numbered receipts in the absence of other source documentation to support the collection of money.

For the test month of November 2012, the comptroller’s examiners reviewed cash receipts for trash stickers, sewer rents, sales and mortgage taxes and other clerk fees to determine if they were recorded accurately and timely.

“We found that the transactions as recorded in the source documentation (e.g. trash sticker log, computer records for sewer rents) were generally adequately detailed and timely,” the comptroller’s letter said.

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