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Cattaraugus County fund balance passes test in audit

LITTLE VALLEY – The trends look good in revenues and expenditures, according to an audit of Cattaraugus County coffers delivered Wednesday to members of the County Legislature.

The county has $30.4 million in the general fund balance, with $23.3 million of it not designated for any specific use.

Michael Maleki, of Drescher and Maleki of Cheektowaga, the municipal auditing firm hired by the county for 2012, said the balances are in a good place compared with previous years.

While the audit did not uncover any deficiencies in the direct subject, some of the controls on the funds were examined, as is common practice, Maleki said.

“We take a look at the controls to make sure our tests on the other measurables are going to be accurate and reflect a solid result,” he told the Legislature.

Some of the recommendations for controls affect electronic security measures.

Information technology “security could be beefed up a bit,” Maleki said. “Establishing an expiration on passwords to require new ones in specified intervals would help in securing as well.”

In addition, he said automatic log-outs after a period of inactivity would be a step in the right direction. That would make unauthorized accesses less likely to occur.

Other observations revolved around the uncertainty in current economic conditions. Maleki said that uncertainty could especially hit the nursing homes, since Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements are going through a transition and the county homes already have cash flow problems.

Other issues that the county would need to watch, according to the auditor, are rising workers’ compensation costs, as well as jumps in the cost of retirement, health insurance and wages.

“You’re doing a pretty good job,” Maleki said. “But there is a lot of work to do to keep the expenditure line in check for the future.”