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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Middle Island Fire District – Budgeting Practices (2013M-93)


Released: July 5, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s budgeting practices for the period January 1, 2011, to November 30, 2012.

Background

The Middle Island Fire District is located in the Town of Brookhaven in Suffolk County. The District is governed by an elected five-member Board of Fire Commissioners. The District’s budgeted expenditures for 2012 were $3,417,000.

Key Findings

  • During the four-year period 2009 through 2012, the Board did not prepare District budgets in the format prescribed by OSC or prepare budgets based on reasonable estimates. Due to the continual overestimating of expenditures, the District generated operating surpluses totaling $2,520,795 from 2009 through 2012.
  • The District did not calculate its statutory spending limits correctly for 2009 through 2013, resulting in budgeted appropriations that exceeded the statutory limit by as much as $21,500 in 2010, 2012, and 2013.
  • The Board did not receive complete and accurate financial information from the Treasurer. Therefore, the Board did not always have the necessary information to effectively monitor the District’s budget.

Key Recommendations

  • Use the budget format prescribed by the Office of the State Comptroller when preparing the District’s budget document. Develop budget estimates on reasonable assumptions using historical trends and/or actual expenditures.
  • Review guidance regarding the statutory spending limitation and make the appropriate corrections to their calculation to ensure that the District does not exceed the maximum amount which may be expended without voter approval.
  • Require the Treasurer to prepare and present comprehensive monthly financial reports.

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