Erie County Government - Official website of the Erie County, NY Government

Skip Navigation

Note: Although this web site is fully accessible to all browsers and internet devices, it has been designed to utilize current web standards, and therefore appears quite differently in browsers that do not support current web standards.

For more information on web standards and how to upgrade your browser please visit the Browser Upgrade Campaign at http://www.webstandards.org/upgrade/.

Return to Erie County homepage

Latest News

More News »

Press Releases

Mark C. Poloncarz, Comptroller

04/21/11

POLONCARZ: SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST IN ERIE COUNTY AUDIT CONTRACT WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT COST SAVINGS IN FUTURE YEARS

Six Bids Represent Greatest Response to Audit RFP in More Than a Decade, Far Cry from Last Request in ’05 that Received Only One

BUFFALO, NY—Today, Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz announced that as of the 3:00pm deadline yesterday, six responses have been received from certified public accounting (“CPA”) firms interested in performing Erie County’s annual financial audit.  In comparison, the previous request for proposals (“RFP”) to conduct the annual audit, which was issued in 2005 by Poloncarz’s predecessor, received only one bid response.  The audit engagement contract to be awarded will cover the fiscal years ending December 31, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with the possible extension for 2014 and 2015.

“There is no doubt that the significant interest in performing Erie County’s annual audit is a direct result of the County’s increasing financial health since my election and the trust that CPA firms now place in the work performed by the Comptroller’s Office,” said Poloncarz.  “When the last audit RFP was issued by my predecessor in 2005, Erie County was in the midst of a financial meltdown that culminated in the ‘Red-Green’ budget fiasco and a state-appointed control board.  It’s no wonder only one firm bid on that contract.  Under my administration, however, we’ve put Erie County back on sound financial footing and restored the trust that the financial statements prepared by my office are accurate—and it is apparent the accounting community has noticed and wants to do business with the County again.”

Poloncarz continued, “Although the County Audit Committee has final say over who is awarded the contract, I can safely say that no matter what, having competition for this contract will result in significant cost savings for the taxpayer.  Over the span of the three-to-five year contract, we could save upwards of a half million dollars from our current contract.”

Two previous RFPs have solicited bidders for the County’s annual audit contract over the past decade (1999 and 2005) resulting in a total of three responses (two in 1999 and one in 2005).  Of the six CPA firms responding this year, three submitted letters of refusal declining to bid on the 2005 RFP.

The Audit Committee for Erie County will now review the bids and take any action it deems necessary, which could include requesting in-person presentations from bidders, scheduling additional Audit Committee meetings for further deliberations, or awarding the contract. 

Since taking office in January 2006, Poloncarz’s sound financial decisions have lead to a four step increase in Erie County’s credit rating from Wall Street rating agencies Fitch Ratings (BBB- to A) and Moody’s (Baa3 to A2) as well as a downgrade of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority’s (“ECFSA”) status from “Control” to “Advisory.” 

As established by the Erie County Charter, the County is required to submit itself to an annual audit, performed by an independent firm selected by the Audit Committee for Erie County.  The independent auditor verifies the accuracy of Erie County’s financial statements, which include all expenditures and revenues.  Erie County has an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, which is used to provide daily services to its more than 900,000 residents. 

The Audit Committee for Erie County is a non-partisan body established to select the independent auditors for both Erie County and Erie Community College.  Additionally, this body meets with the selected independent auditor to discuss their findings and recommendations, while issuing its own report to the Erie County Executive, Comptroller and Legislature.  The Committee is comprised of five volunteer representatives from: the banking community, local CPA community, WNY Bar Association, and one appointee each, chosen by the Majority and Minority of the Erie County Legislature.  The Deputy Erie County Comptroller-Audit serves as an ex officio member of the committee. 

For a copy of the RFP, please click here: http://www.erie.gov/comptroller/press/pr022811.asp