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Audit blasts Carle Place Garbage District

The Carle Place Garbage District needs to improve oversight of its financial operations, according to a recent state comptroller's audit.

The audit, which covered the period from Jan. 1, 2009, until the 2012 adopted budget, criticized the board for not maintaining a fund balance or enough cash flow.

The district's surplus went from $285,125 in January 2008 to less than $10,000 by the end of 2011.

The audit also found that the board has not adopted legally required policies regarding procurement, investment or ethics, and recommended the board do so.

In its response, the board said it would promptly implement the audit's recommendations.

Chairwoman Joanne Del Vecchio wrote that the board reduced its fund balance, returning about $250,000 to taxpayers, because it felt it was under "pressure" to do so by a North Hempstead Town councilman.

The town ultimately approves special district budgets.

"Admittedly, yet unfortunately, the District Commissioners bowed to this pressure," she wrote, citing that refund as "the main reason" the fund balance was lower in 2012.

In an interview, Del Vecchio said the councilman was Robert Troiano, who is now a Nassau County legislator.

Troiano, who said he was not on the town board during the time cited by the garbage district, said he had not discussed the issue with the district since 2004.

"It's hard for me to believe they're using that for why they don't have a fund balance in 2011," he said.

Troiano said the district "couldn't enunciate a need to maintain the surplus they were maintaining" in 2004.

Town spokesman Collin Nash said the district used $125,000 of its fund balance in 2010 and again in 2011, lowering the amount to be collected by taxes and reducing the fund balance by $250,000.

The district had also applied that amount of surplus for the two previous years, he said.

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