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Amsterdam, NY ,




Controller-elect looks at finances, operation

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - Updated: 10:32 AM


Amsterdam Controller-elect Matthew Agresta paid a visit to City Hall Monday afternoon to start getting accustomed to procedure in the controller's and tax offices.

Agresta's win has yet to be certified by the board of elections, but officials there said it should be determined by Friday at the latest. Agresta said he expects to be sworn in Friday afternoon by Montgomery County Judge Felix Catena.

Agresta said when he got to City Hall, deputy controller David Mitchell was making corrections to the city's Annual Update Document filed last month.

According to the report, eight of the city's 17 bank accounts have not been reconciled, and the report shows that $1.2 million in cash is unaccounted for.

The document is a report of the city's actual expenses and revenues for a fiscal year. Amsterdam's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30, and the report filed last month was almost a year late.

When contacted about the AUD Monday morning, Agresta said he would be looking for answers during his City Hall visit. However, he only got to meet with Mitchell for a short time, he said.

"We didn't have time to sit down and actually hash out everything," Agresta said Tuesday morning. "And I haven't started working yet, so I don't have a desk or anything that I can sit there all day and work through things with him."

He said he didn't get a chance to peek at the KVS System accounting software the city uses, because the AUD doesn't require it, but he said he's planning to attend training in December.

Until then he said he'll be relying on Mitchell to help him transition into the position.

"Really I don't have much choice in that," Agresta said. "KVS, they're always willing to help. Like if I were to call them with a question, they could always walk me through something I may not understand or may not know how to do. But, David being there for the last year and using the system should be a great resource."

He said they spoke briefly about the AUD, but he still has questions himself.

"I can't give you an answer to every one of those [questions]," Agresta admitted, "but I can say that the AUD was submitted and it was submitted with some of the incorrect information that had been there from before. The state knows this and David is in contact with them weekly at this point."

Agresta said the state has neither accepted nor rejected the document because the city is working through the errors.

"They give the opportunity, as long as you stay in contact with them, and let them know you're working through the things that aren't necessarily correct, to let you fix those," Agresta said. "So that's the process that David is going through at this point."

Agresta said there are "seven sizable errors" within the AUD, one he could name is the $1.2 million that is unaccounted for. The others, he said, he didn't have time to really dissect.

Agresta said he also stopped by the tax office to watch its process. Because it was the end of office's work day, he observed how receipts are cashed out.

"I was just trying to watch what they were doing," Agresta said. "I want to learn what everybody does at one point, so worst case scenario, I can do it. Before I can even think about making a change that I think would be more efficient, I need to know what the process is that they're doing now."

Agresta said he also stopped by the office Tuesday afternoon to continue his observations. He said he looks forward to meeting with each of the department heads and preparing monthly controller's office reports for the Common Council once he's sworn in.

"If [the aldermen] don't know our financials, they can't really make informed decisions moving forward," Agresta said of the monthly reports. "That's going to be very important."

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