ALBANY – A state comptroller’s office audit of the court and trust funds of Columbia County has made a number of recommendations to improve its bookkeeping operations.
County officials are responsible for safeguarding court and trust funds in their care. Pursuant to a court order, certain assets may be provided to the court and then delivered to the county treasurer for safekeeping, such as surplus monies from foreclosures.
Also, in certain circumstances, funds from estates are entrusted to the treasurer for safekeeping by order of the Surrogate’s Court.
The auditors reviewed the books for the period of January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2014.
They identified 15 instances of abandoned property that were not turned over to the state comptroller. Also, the county clerk’s register of monies and securities paid, transferred or deposited, or ordered to be paid, transferred or deposited, to a court is inaccurate, auditors found.
The Surrogate Court clerk has not kept the required Surrogate’s register, the state found.
Key recommendations include that the county ensure that all monies deemed abandoned property are turned over to the state comptroller in a timely manner; that an up-to-date county clerk’s register is maintained as required by law; and that the county ensure that all court and trust fund actions are entered into the Surrogate’s register.