The Village of Kenmore was faulted for its wastewater treatment practices in an audit released Thursday by the State Comptroller’s Office.
“Village officials have not made a substantive effort to use available resources to gain a better understanding of wastewater treatment processes and costs and do not adequately review invoices, analyze lab reports, repair identified sewer main breaks, or document property inspections for improper connections,” Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said in the report.
Mayor Patrick Mang, in a written response to the comptroller’s audit, said, “Well before this audit, the village has been actively looking into the wastewater fund, given the large increase in cost over the years.”
As part of the overall operations, the village contracts with the Town of Tonawanda to treat its wastewater.
The 20-page audit said the village’s superintendent of public works, Andrew Mang, fails to review wastewater lab reports, which “can be used to monitor the village’s sanitary sewer costs and identify issues that could indicate problems.” It also said Clerk-Treasurer Kathleen Johnson fails to properly review invoices from the town.
But Patrick Mang said, “The village believes that the clerk/treasurer is adequately reviewing wastewater bills.”
Also, from July 5, 2011, through Nov. 13, 2012, the audit documented 20 sanitary sewer main breaks. However, the audit found no repairs documented in a corresponding log of sewer line repairs for the same period.
“Water and sewer main breaks are addressed immediately as they occur,” Patrick Mang said in response.
The village spent approximately $1.1 million in 2011 and $1 million in 2012 on wastewater-processing costs, according to the audit. The village’s general, water and sewer funds’ budgeted expenditures for the 2012-13 fiscal year totaled approximately $15.5 million.
The mayor said, “We are reviewing the current agreement and hope to enter into a new agreement between the town and the village concerning wastewater.”
The audit also faulted village officials for not properly safeguarding computerized data on the village’s network. Employees of the village’s information technology vendor can access the network remotely at any time, the audit said, leading to an increased risk of “inappropriate transactions.”
Patrick Mang, in his reply, said, “The board has already approved updated policies and procedures governing outside-user remote access and access rights.”
A copy of the audit can be found at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/villages/2013/kenmore.pdf.