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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 20, 2011

Federal funds trigger audit, which comes out nearly clean

By Anne Hayden

GUILDERLAND — An independent audit released, released this month, found just two minor problems to which the town has responded.

Guilderland received more than $980,636 in federal funding in 2009, and so was required have an independent audit conducted for that year.

According to Supervisor Kenneth Runion, an audit is always required by the federal government if more than $500,000 in funding is granted in one year.

The town sent out a request for proposals, and hired Marvin and Company for the audit; the total cost to the town was $18,000. Marvin and Company released the audit on Jan. 6.

“This is the first independent audit we’ve had to do since I’ve been here, and I don’t think there were any prior to me,” said Runion, who has been supervisor for a decade. Guilderland received $618,368 for the Section 8 housing program, to help poor, elderly, and handicapped people, and $7,122 for a Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program for the police department, as well as some highway department funds.

The purpose of the audit was to make sure the funds were spent appropriately.

The audit, which The Enterprise received, found two problems. The first was that “monthly bank reconciliations are performed for all accounts, but the reconciliations are not reviewed and approved by an individual not involved with either the cash disbursement or cash receipting function.” The auditor recommended that the bank reconciliations be reviewed and signed-off on.

Runion said the town holds over 20 bank accounts, and each month the accounts must be looked at to ensure that the bank reconciled all the transactions correctly.

“Many years ago, there was one person to handle all of the accounting functions, which worked out because, if there was a mistake, everything was all in one place,” said Runion. But, he said, now more people are required to look over each financial transaction.

“We have a limited number of people that work in the town comptroller’s office, so now we have each one of them reviewing another person’s work product and signing off on it,” Runion said. He said the auditors confirmed that the process would meet their recommendation.

The only other problem encountered during the audit was an invoice for a construction project; the costs occurred in 2008, and it was posted as an expenditure for 2009, according to the audit report. The auditors stated, “Procedures should be in place to provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded in the proper period.”

The construction project was a capital project, and Runion said the error did not affect the town’s fund balances.

“I think we do a pretty good job here of keeping track of the funds; we have a good staff and they’ve been doing this for a long number of years,” he said. The auditor’s reported listed Guilderland’s bank balances as over $22 million.

The town may need to have another independent audit conducted for 2010, Runion said, but it is already budgeted for.

“I think this was good for us,” Runion concluded. “The auditors spent a lot of time going through all of our financial documents and even our board minutes, and found very little wrong.”

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