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December 1, 2012

Town of Jay revises water procedure after audit

JAY — An audit of town accounts took issue only with water and sewer billing procedures.

But some of the procedures challenged were related to damage recovery from severe flooding in 2011.

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released the findings this week based on an auditors’ review done on all town records kept from Jan. 1, 2011, through March 31, 2012.

The sole critique found “the town did not have comprehensive written policies and procedures to provide adequate guidance and internal controls over water and sewer user charges, and the (town) board provided only minimal oversight,” the report said.

RECOMMENDATION

Auditors said 34 of 35 user-fee adjustments, totaling $5,706, were not affirmed by a resolution by the Town Council.

Auditors also found that $2,397 in water rent deposits were not dated properly, even though all water and sewer monies collected were intact.

The state audit recommended that town officials establish written policies and procedures for internal controls over water and sewer billing, collecting, adjusting and reconciling.

STORM AFTERMATH

Town Supervisor Randy Douglas said the auditors spent nearly 10 weeks in Jay town offices. 

“We were right in the middle of recouping from Irene. We’re $3 million in debt, balancing 52 worksheets worth millions of dollars in remediation projects; if that’s the only thing they can find, we’re doing well,” he said.

“What they found was a process we used for damaged homes. If somebody got flooded in their home and asked for a reduction in their water rent because they can’t live there, the Water and Sewer Committee would approve a reduction. They presented the request to me, and I would go back to the biller, and we lowered their rate.

“The only thing we didn’t do is bring it to the full board for a resolution.”

At first, it was an effectual response to water and sewer user needs, Douglas said of the two flooding events in May and August 2011.

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