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DiNapoli audit finds poor financial management by CNY Regional Market Authority board

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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The Central New York Regional Market farmers market is packed with patrons in this photo from 2023. On Tuesday, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released an audit that found the financial position of the Central New York Regional Market Authority has “deteriorated” and offered several recommendations for dealing with the problem. The authority board’s president responded to the audit saying the organization is “performing several of the corrective actions” that were recommended in the report. (Photo credit: zoeyadvertising.com)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The Central New York Regional Market Authority’s financial position has “deteriorated,” and the cash available to pay operating costs “declined”‘ from fiscal year (FY) 2020-21 to FY 2022-23.

That’s according to an audit that New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released on Tuesday.

The Central New York Regional Market operates at 2100 Park St. in Syracuse, near Destiny USA.

If authority officials do not take measures to increase revenues, reduce expenses, or both, the authority will continue to have annual net losses and “will not have sufficient funds for its operations,” DiNapoli’s office said.

The audit faulted the board for not properly managing the authority’s financial condition, including not developing realistic budgets, not monitoring operations and expenses, and not doing a thorough analysis before spending more than $2 million on a warehouse that needs extensive renovations and has been a drain on the authority’s budget.

“The Central New York Regional Market Authority board and officials need to turn its financial operations around before its fiscal situation gets worse. I am glad they took our findings and recommendations seriously and are working on a corrective action plan,” DiNapoli said in Tuesday’s announcement.

Recommendations, response

Auditors made 14 recommendations to the authority to improve its financial condition. Key recommendations for the board include taking immediate measures to reduce spending, increase revenues, or both; adopt realistic budgets, monitor actual results, and address shortfalls; and prioritize critical needs and fill rental space.

In response to the audit, Anthony Emmi, president of the CNY Regional Market Authority board, said the “authority agreed with the financial findings of the audit and is acting on the recommendations,” per DiNapoli’s office.

The audit report included the letter from Emmi to Rebecca Wilcox, chief of municipal audits for DiNapoli’s office. In it, Emmi wrote, “The Authority’s Board of Directors (Board) and Management team have already begun the process of performing several of the corrective actions that align recommendations contained within the report, and the Board has scheduled a meeting for later this month to outline and resolve a full corrective action plan based on the recommendations and resources provided in this audit.”

About the CNY Regional Market Authority

The Syracuse–based public authority operates a farmers’ market and flea market to help vendors sell their products to the public and has programs and services to promote agriculture in Central New York, as described in the DiNapoli announcement.

It is overseen by a 13-member board, consisting of appointees from Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga, Madison, Cortland, Oneida, and Wayne counties, as well as the commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Under state law, board members monitor and oversee fiscal and management operations, and have a “fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the authority, its mission and the public,” DiNapoli’s office said.

 

 

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