MAYVILLE - A state Comptroller's Office audit released in June has been dealt with by the county.
Dave Ditanna and Wayne Rishell, BWB auditors, spoke during Thursday's Audit and Control Committee meeting to go through the audit with committee members and review the county's response.
The audit claimed that the county has lost money due to risky investments and questionable management decisions. It found that the county failed to protect taxpayers from losses related to investments in two Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) bonds.
According to the audit, the county IDA in 2000 and 2001 purchased bonds to fund the construction of speculation buildings in the towns of Sheridan and Busti. Auditors, however, found that payments from the businesses in these spec buildings did not cover the required annual IDA debt payments.
The bond in Sheridan was used in part to develop the Chadwick Bay Industrial Park, while the bond in Busti was used to develop the Stoneman Business Park.
The audit shows the first bond defaulted, causing the county to lose $1.8 million in its fund balance; the county also lost $94,500 in outstanding property taxes.
However, according to Ditanna, the county's financial statements are correct. Despite the initial bad news, the auditors mainly praised the county for its improvements over past years.
"The theme that you can hear from this is that there are a lot of improvement with the coordination of finance with the outlying departments. A lot of the things we are focusing on now are internal with finance," Rishell said.
According to a response from County Executive Greg Edwards, which is included in the audit, the information about the CCIDA bonds "does not give even close to a complete picture of the background and impacts of the spec bonds."
"The comptroller is focusing on what happened 12 years ago instead of the over $8 million in physical growth and the 185 employees that developed in and around these spec buildings," Edwards said after the report was released in June.
He also said that the reported $1.8 million bond is now back in the books with the county, and will be restored to the general fund balance.