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Mastic Beach moves to improve village financial checks and balances

Mastic Beach Village Hall on April 20, 2014.

Mastic Beach Village Hall on April 20, 2014. The building is located at 369 Neighborhood Rd. Credit: Carl Corry

The New York State comptroller's office has determined that the Mastic Beach Village Board is not adequately informed of the village's fiscal affairs and has outlined recommendations for improvement.

Among other findings, the audit, released earlier this month, discovered that $48,585 in credit card expenses were made without proper documentation.

"This increases the risk that the village may pay for purchases that are not valid village expenses," the audit from the office of Thomas DiNapoli concluded.

The audit also said that a former village treasurer did not provide board members with financial information such as budget status reports. In May, the village announced that James Olivo, a veteran Nassau County auditor and former president of New York State's Government Finance Officers Association, was named the fourth treasurer since the municipality incorporated in 2010.

The audit said the former treasurer didn't propose budget modifications, and only signed three of 454 checks that were reviewed during the audit, which covered the period from June 1, 2012, to Nov. 30, 2013. As a result, the report said, the village board was not adequately informed of municipal fiscal affairs.

Mastic Beach had an operating budget of $3.7 million last year compared with $4.2 million this year.

The audit said the former treasurer issued six petty cash checks during the audit period totaling $1,814. None of the checks and supporting documentation were presented to the board for review, the report read. Further, he failed to obtain adequate documentation to support petty cash reimbursements, the report said.

"Disbursing funds without first obtaining properly itemized receipts to ensure that payments were for legitimate village purposes does not adequately safeguard village" money, the report read.

The comptroller's office recommended that Olivo provide the board with detailed monthly financial reports containing cash balances, all cash receipts, a fund balance projection, disbursements and a comparison of revenue and expenditures.

Mastic Beach agreed with the recommendations. In its Aug. 5 response, the board wrote that Olivo has "extensive knowledge of village financial systems," and that a review of its financial policies had already begun by establishing a petty cash fund. The board said that "further internal controls will be implemented to safeguard disbursements."

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