State comptroller criticizes Town of Highlands water and sewer funds’ financial management

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ALBANY – The Highlands Town Board did not effectively manage the town’s financial condition of the water and sewer funds, an audit conducted by the State Comptroller’s Office found.

The study found that the board did not monitor and amend the budgets as necessary.

It also said the water fund had a negative unassigned fund balance since 2016. As of December 31, 2020, the unassigned fund balance was negative $370,229 and the water fund owes $490,922 to other funds.

The audit said loans from other funds were not repaid by the end of the fiscal year as required.

For 2016 through 2020, the report said town officials budgeted for non-existing debt payments and reserve transfers that were not made totaling $430,000 and that multi-year financial and capital plans have not been developed.

State officials said the town should make accurate estimates based on the most current ands accurate information available for revenues and expenditures to ensure the water and sewer funds remain self-sufficient and that the town should monitor and amend the budget as needed.