Johnstown officials work on comptroller’s audit

The Johnstown Town Board held a special meeting on Monday to go through the audit that was completed by the state comptroller's office. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

JOHNSTOWN — An audit conducted on the town by the state Comptroller’s Office that resulted in a list of items and policies to be updated or looked over, including more oversight needed when transferring money between accounts, aligning credit card payments to avoid late fees and penalties and more accountability for vouchers.

The town board held a special meeting on Monday to go over the verbal report from the staff of the state Comptroller’s Office. Several items on the report were recommendations made by the comptroller’s office to the town. A majority of those recommendations involve the town having more oversight when it comes to bookkeeping and transferring money, which has caused issues for the town in the past that resulted in the town raising taxes by 52 percent for the 2018 budget. That increase was due to the town spending more money than they had revenue coming in and errors from the former bookkeeper not keeping books correctly.

“A lot of it was accountability on our part with the paperwork. We need to have budget checks on some of these budgetary transfers that are being handled through my office and the bookkeeper,” said Supervisor Jack Wilson. “We’ve got to get our oversight in place and hopefully that will prevent anything like that ever happening again.”

Some of the recommendations made by the comptroller’s office include:

∫ Having each board member sign every voucher.

∫ Update the procurement policy.

∫ Have a five-year finance plan.

∫ Update the policy on Medicare and medical reimbursement.

∫ Recommended that the highway fund’s negative balance of $46,277 from 2014 be rectified.

∫ Change passwords quarterly.

∫ Recommended rectification of an account with $5,222 in it that is not drawing interest.

∫ Journal entries need to be reviewed by Wilson or Bruce VanGenderan, an certified public accountant.

∫ Have a cash management policy.

∫ Establish a policy that deals with any investments.

∫ Increase bonding levels for town clerk and employees in the office.

∫ Have the justices and clerks bonded for $25,000.

∫ Wilson and the town’s bookkeeper need to be bonded.

∫ Receipts and disbursements need to be reviewed by Wilson or VanGenderan.

∫ Align credit card due dates and bills with board meetings to eliminate late fees.

∫ $9,000 in fuel was found unaccounted for at the highway garage which equates to half of the diesel and 80 percent gasoline that is consumed.

Wilson said the fuel wasn’t being stolen, but was due to poor record keeping and mechanical problems with the diesel pump made it off a quart on each gallon.

“So if you got a gallon, you actually only got 3 quarts,” he said.

Parts have been ordered to correct the malfunction.

∫ Time cards need to be handled by the bookkeeper.

Wilson said this was the first time the town had a full audit completed by the comptroller’s office since they went through their budget issues.

He said the report from the comptroller’s office was a verbal report and they will not get the written report until the end of September or October.

“Because they are now doing all municipalities within three years across the state,” Wilson said. “When they send me the written finalization of it, then I’m obligated to respond back to them.”

He said he will send the comptroller’s office a written response of the changes the town will be making.