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2018-04-10 / Front Page

Town of Franklin Audit Findings: Record Keeping Sub-par

By Rosie Cunningham

FRANKLIN - According to a report of examination by the officer of the New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the town of Franklin has not effectively monitored their financial conditions and have not turned in reports in a timely manner for the period January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017.

During the Franklin Town Board meeting on April 3, supervisor Jeffery Taggert said he did receive report findings but said he did not have the time to review them (they had just been issued).

A resident, during the meeting, questioned exactly how the money is spent within the town and what sources of revenue aside from incoming taxes, does Franklin have.

Taggert addressed a list of revenue and said that in the yearly budget, the details were itemized.

Franklin (population of approximately 2,400), has budgeted appropriations for 2018 totaling approximately $1.7 million.

According to the report, key findings include: Since 2014, the town-outside-village (TOV) highway fund balance decreased by 59 percent to $87,500, or 13 percent of expenditures. The town supervisor did not provide the board with complete financial reports or file annual financial reports (AUDs) with the town clerk or OSC. The board did not audit the records or reports of Supervisor Taggert.

Key recommendations made include reducing the town’s reliance on the TOV highway fund balance as a financing source for recurring expenditures. The supervisor should provide the board with accurate balance sheet reports and complete a timely audit each year, file it with OSC and provide a copy to the clerk and board members and in addition, the board should annually audit the records and reports of the supervisor.

“The board’s ability to monitor the town’s financial affairs and develop budgets is diminished when it does not receive complete and accurate financial reports and fails to perform necessary audits,” the office of the NYS Comptroller report stated.

“We (the board) will be sitting down with the bookkeeper and a professional to address the concerns,” said Taggert of the findings. “I was at fault for the reports not getting done. However, there is no missing money and no financial errors and I wish the comptroller office would make that more clear.”

Taggert said CHIPs money is not provided until December and until those funds are received, they do tap into other avenues within the budget for necessary highway repairs.

“We’ll find another avenue,” he said. “We will make adjustments as the findings are just recommendations. However, reports will be getting done - that’s a fact.”

Town financial condition reports can be found at www.osc.state.ny.us.

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