Wednesday, May 20, 2020
I would love to know what information was used to create the 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 financial audits by D'Arcangelo regarding the Oneida County Consent Order.
There were several town board meetings with Steve Devan, Commissioner of the Oneida County Sewer District and Attorney Peter Rayhill in attendance to discuss the surcharge required to pay for the needed repairs. Tyksinski was opposed to New Hartford paying the greatest share of the cost and would not agree to allow the surcharge to be placed on the water bills of town residents in the district; negotiations were ongoing.
I put together a timeline with town board minutes on one side of the page and excerpts of town audits prepared by D'Arcangelo covering the years 2010 - 2013 on the other side which you can access here.
At the January 27, 2010 town board meeting Resolution 50 of 2010 was adopted; the town agreed to pay Oneida County $40,000 a month each quarter for the first year and revisit it again in 2011.
By my calculations, that would be $480,000 for 2010 which, according to board resolution, would be paid from the Mitigation Fund.
However, the 2010 Financials prepared by D'Arcangelo state that the town paid $459,227 from the Sewer Fund in 2010.
If you compare those figures to the 2012 Oneida County Revenue budget for G-Water Poll Control - Administration it tells a different story. Revenue Account G-2124.7 SSO Surcharge - Town of New Hartford shows revenue of $320,000 was received from the Town of New Hartford.
The 2013 Oneida County Budget G-Water Poll Control - Administration says total revenue received from New Hartford in 2011 was $259,227.
However, the 2011 town's financial statements prepared by D'Arcangelo states "In 2011, the Town of New Hartford's total surcharge was paid from a transfer from the Mitigation fund to the Sewer District in the amount of $443,173."
Looking ahead to the 2012 Financials prepared by D'Arcangelo on page 42 says the $443,173 for 2011 was paid from the Sewer Fund, but on page 43 the audit states that an equity transfer was made for $443,173 from the Sewer Fund back to the Mitigation fund because the funds were to be funded through use of Mitigation fees, but the funds were not transferred within the periods as authorized by resolution.
That brings us to the 2013 Financials prepared by D'Arcangelo; the note on page 42 state that the 2011 surcharge was paid by the Sewer fund balance in the amount of $443,173.
So let me ask...Any questions?
Friends, the Sewer District is only one (1) special district that has some very funny things going on and it would appear to be used as a slush fund to fill budget gaps.
We also have reported on the Willowvale Pension fund that appears to be overtaxed and the extra money appears to have been spent to fill town budget holes contrary to the requirements of NYS Town Law.
We have Fire District 1 & 2 that has supposedly been taxed for a "deficit" that the Finance Office was unable to justify.
We have the Higby Road Water District which a fund balance of over $100,000 yet that district has no other costs other than a 0% interest bond so how can a large fund balance (if it is even in cash and not I.O.U.s) be justified ?
We have lighting districts that have been overtaxed by increasing the contract prices in the annual budgets.
On top of that since 2011 earned interest on the money in the bank for each fund has not been distributed to each fund in the audits as required by law. Where is the money that is due each fund?
All of this has absolutely nothing to do with the declining sales tax revenue due to the Coronovirus shut-down. It has to do with insufficient financial oversight of the town board due to crappy monthly reports given to the town board that are insufficient for monitoring the financial condition of the town; lousy budgeting; and poor judgment of our supervisor(s).
Even so, the town board unanimously voted to pay the current auditors to visit the town monthly to oversee the work done by Miscione and the Finance Office person instead of hiring a full-time person who is experienced with town finance. What could possibly go wrong?