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Office of the State Comptroller - Local Government & School Accountability
Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Lysander Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2011M-249)


Released: February 10, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

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

Background

The District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town Lysander in Onondaga County. The Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five elected members and is responsible for the District’s overall financial management. The District’s general fund budget totaled approximately $222,000 for the 2011 fiscal year.

Key Findings

  • The Board has not adopted an investment policy as required by statute.
  • While the Treasurer provides the Board with various financial reports on a monthly basis, the Treasurer does not provide any reports showing budget vs. actual activity. This is important because the District’s fund balance has declined from $17,779 in 2008 to only $671 at the end of 2010.
  • Only one Board member reviews and signs each claim and the minutes lack specifics as to the claim numbers and dollar amounts audited and approved by the Board to be paid.
  • Although the custodial and disbursing functions are vested in the Treasurer by statute, a private contractor disburses payroll by accessing the District’s bank account and withdrawing enough funds to cover payroll and payroll taxes and for fees for its services without submitting claims for audit and approval.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt an investment policy.
  • Provide the Board with monthly reports showing budget vs. actual activity to assist the Board in monitoring the District’s financial condition.
  • Audit all claims prior to payment, unless otherwise provided by law, and document, in the Board minutes, the claim numbers and dollar amounts of the claims that have been approved for payment by the Board.
  • Do not allow the private contractor to access the District’s bank account to withdraw funds for payroll, payroll taxes and fees for its services. Require the private contractor to submit claims for payroll services for audit and approval prior to payment.

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