Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 7, 2014

City facing another audit

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Another audit is coming for the City of Lockport, as the New York State Comptroller’s Office is returning to take a look at the city’s internal financial controls.

Common Council President Anne McCaffrey, 2nd Ward alderwoman said the Comptroller’s Office sent a letter Wednesday to her, Mayor Michael W. Tucker and Treasurer Michael White on Wednesday. Back in the fall, the Comptroller’s Office had sent representatives 

According to McCaffrey, the letter said, “The audit will focus on an evaluation of the city’s internal controls over its financial operations and will primarily cover the 2013 fiscal year.” 

Tucker said he wasn’t surprised representatives from the Comptroller’s Office would be returning for another audit. As a city that has been audited recently, Lockport was more likely to receive a visit from the state, the mayor said.

And any guidance would be appreciated, he added.

“We’re trying to get back on track, we’ll take all the help we can get,” Tucker said.

State auditors came to 1 Locks Plaza in the fall, once the city was labeled as a municipality in “moderate fiscal stress.” That audit’s report, which was released in December, stated poor accounting and budgeting practices were two major reasons for Lockport’s fiscal stress.

In the report, auditors claim city officials did not use realistic estimates in developing the 2013 budget. Revenues were overly optimistic, resulting in operating deficits, auditors reported.

It didn’t help that city officials were not working with accurate numbers. The Treasurer’s Office did not properly record or report the city’s financial position, the audit report charged. If it had, it is very likely that city officials would have been aware of the city’s declining financial condition and could have taken corrective action sooner, auditors said.

• The Common Council meeting that was canceled Wednesday was rescheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers at City Hall.

A few city committee meetings were also rescheduled for Monday. They include the Finance committee, which will meet at 4 p.m., Personnel at 4:30 p.m. and the Council’s Committee of the Whole at 5 p.m.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.