WILLIAMSPORT – A Lancaster company said it discovered numerous financial problems, including misuse of funds, during the audit of River Valley Transit (RVT), a department of Williamsport government.
RKL representatives on Tuesday, during the city council’s finance committee review of its audit for the period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, used terms that included “a kind of shell game” and ” buried transactions ”.
He noted numerous trips back and forth between RVT and the city, inconsistencies and funds not used as planned.
The city was using RVT money to fund local projects, and suburban communities that subsidize the bus service were not billed or the money was not collected, RKL representative Mark Zettlemoyer said, according to the audit.
Internal controls were not in place and management used the funds for purposes other than those for which they were allocated, he said.
RKL representatives stopped before saying that the financial problems have reached the level of crime.
However, the state attorney general’s office is known to have investigated the operations of RVT, of which William E. Nichols Jr. was the chief executive from 1978 until his dismissal in January 2020. He was also the chief financial officer. from the city.
One of RKL’s recommendations is that no one should be able to handle a transaction from start to finish.
Mayor Derek Slaughter, who fired Nichols when he took office, said changes were made to prevent this.
River Valley carries over one million passengers each year serving much of the populated area of Lycoming County.
For the 12 months audited, it had operating revenues of $ 1.7 million and operating expenses of $ 13.3 million.
Such losses are common with transit systems that depend on state and federal grants to cover the difference, Zettlemoyer said.
However, having a long-term debt of around $ 11 million is unusual, he said.
RVT also provides management services to the Endless Mountain Transportation Authority in Bradford County.
The comment “a kind of hull game” was made in connection with the fact that RVT wanted to buy three vans for which it did not have subsidy money.
He used about $ 66,000 in Endless Mountain cash to buy the vans and then cut what that authority had to pay for management services by the same amount, Zettlemoyer said, according to the audit.
RVT was wrongly awarded as local counterpart for grants that UPMC provided for a special service, said Tim Kraft of RKL.
Zettlemoyer summed up the report saying it was an interesting year and called for more checks and balances.
The city is awaiting the results of an audit of its books in order to know its financial situation before starting work on the 2022 budget.
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