Village mayor refutes state audit results

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The Brightwaters mayor is contesting a recently released state audit that alleges village trustees have operated on an average $192,000 budget deficit for each of the past three fiscal years because they have consistently underestimated spending and overestimated revenues.

Mayor Joseph A. McNulty denied several of the audit's key findings, saying the village has a surplus. "There was nothing in there that was derogatory," said McNulty. "I think we did a good job, for the last 13, 14 years. We never raised the taxes, paid our bills and we're not in debt."

McNulty declined to answer specific questions about the audit and said he would wait to discuss its findings at a special meeting of the board scheduled for March 13 at 8 p.m.

The audit by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office says the board's budgeting practices have depleted the village's fund balance, which could "jeopardize the village's ability to provide services."

For example, in fiscal years 2009-10 through 2011-12, the board overestimated revenues and underestimated spending by $576,712 and did not sufficiently amend the budget.

"The Board's unrealistic budgeting practices, lack of budget monitoring, and reliance on one-time revenues places the village's financial position at risk of continued decline," the audit said. "The mayor does not believe that a deficit exists and therefore has no plans to address it."

Former Trustee John Valdini, a frequent board critic, said he felt vindicated by the audit's findings. "My friends and I have been pointing this out for years, and we've been called everything from troublemakers to liars from the mayor's supporters. The truth came out. The village is not run in a professional manner. Things have got to change," Valdini said.

Additionally, the audit found that Trustee Timothy Cox failed to publicly disclose that his wife and children were contracted to run a village-financed summer camp.

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Cox did not return a message seeking comment.

Also, the board hasn't adopted comprehensive information technology policies and procedures, the audit said.

Trustee John J. Riordan, who is an accountant, said he was unaware of many of the village's financial problems, but had "revised the budget last year to make improvements in forecasting revenues and expenditures."

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