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July 29, 2013

Franklin County committee looking at audit

MALONE — Several recommendations raised in previous Franklin County audits have still not been addressed, but a committee appointed to rectify them got to work this week.

Roger Lis, an independent auditor who gave a report to legislators last month, pointed out several lingering concerns, including overestimated revenue, the lack of updated policies, lack of long-term planning for Highway Department purchases and poor tracking of employee vacation and sick time.

Finance Committee Chairman Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) pulled together other elected officials and department heads this week to review the list and lump together related issues to be tackled at the same time.

He’s hoping to have a majority of the issues cleared up by the end of the year, which is also the end of his tenure as a legislator since he has decided not to run for another term.

NO FUND-BALANCE POLICY

Lis found there is no five-year plan for the Highway Department or a plan on where funding for it would come from; and there is no fund-balance policy or a plan to spend down reserves.

And the auditor said recording revenue amounts higher than actual payments received is a problem. 

“We are budgeting X to get X, but we are only getting Y,” Lis said, adding that the county leaders also need to understand the difference between revenue and cash flow.

CONTRACTS

He stressed the need for a single point where all of the county’s contracts are stored so when they need to be accessed, they can be easily retrieved.

Now, County Auditor Fran Perry has copies of all contracts, but the originals could be one of several places, depending on the department they concern. 

Some are approved by legislators through a resolution and others through the requests-for-proposals generated by County Manager Thomas Leitz. 

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