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Annual Audit Finds Cortland County Finances in Good Shape, but Oversight Issues Remain
Friday, October 19, 2012
Annual Audit Finds Cortland County Finances in Good Shape, but Oversight Issues Remain
An independent audit of Cortland County’s books finds that the 2011 budget preformed well, but there are lingering management and oversight issues.
 
The County’s independent auditor Rick McNeilly of Horseheads appeared before the Legislature’s Budget and finance committee to report the findings of his latest audit.
 
McNeilly did not encounter any serious difficulties in preparing the audit and found the books to be in good order in preparation of the audit, in years past the records and accounts were not reconciled in a timely manner.
 
McNeilly’s review found that in 2011 the County budget performed better than expected and the county did not overspend the budget, in fact the county ended the year with 2 million more than planned. The county’s health insurance fund took in more money than expected, at the end of last year the fund had 2.7 million on hand to pay potential claims.
 
McNeilly did raise concerns with respect to the county’s procedures for dealing with tax delinquent properties, this is a reoccurring issue. McNeilly says there needs to be a clear procedure in place and lawmakers should make sure the police is adhered to.
 
McNeilly says grants funds received need to be more accurately budgeted to verify that the County is not overspending the grants awarded.
 
Again this year McNeilly pointed out issues with the county’s accounting of capital projects, McNeilly says the legislature needs to make sure there is a record of capital project spending from start to finish.
 
A new deficiency noted in county finances is a lack of reconciling state and federal aide receivables. During 2011 no one verified that the county was actually receiving state and federal reimbursements for eligible expenses, which could lead to the county overstating revenues.
 
County administrator Martin Murphy says many of the deficiencies are being addressed, he points to the recent purchase and implementation of the county purchasing system. Murphy acknowledged that some of the issues are part of a more systemic and long term restructuring.
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