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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Eastchester Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2012M-94)


Released: September 7, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the internal controls over the District's financial operations for the period January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011.

Background

The Eastchester Fire District is located in the Town of Eastchester, and the Villages of Tuckahoe and Bronxville, in Westchester County. The Board of Fire Commissioners, which comprises five elected commissioners, governs the District. The District's budget for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 totaled $14,535,627 and $14,489,855, respectively.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not properly develop or monitor the District's budget and over-expended funds on various budget line items, which caused an operating deficit of $195,000 in 2011.
  • The Board did not develop a capital plan to address the District's deteriorating infrastructure, and the District addresses maintenance and repair needs on an emergency basis.
  • The Board did not provide needed training to the Secretary/Treasurer; as a result, the District's financial records did not comply with accounting standards set forth by OSC.
  • District officials did not always adhere to the procurement policy and obtained 11 professional service vendors, who received payments totaling $394,191, without the benefit of competitive methods. In addition, the Board did not have written contracts with all of the District's professional services vendors.
  • The Board did not develop a policy or procedures for auditing claims.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt realistic, structurally balanced budgets and monitor operations throughout the year.
  • Establish a capital assets policy.
  • Obtain training for the Secretary/Treasurer and implement the modified accrual basis of accounting.
  • Update the District's procurement policy to include the use of competitive methods when procuring professional services and enter into written agreements with professional services providers.
  • Develop policies and procedures for auditing claims.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236