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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

West Seneca Fire District #6 – Financial Management (2013M-14)


Released: September 27, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate internal controls over District financial operations for the period January 1, 2009, through November 28, 2012.

Background

The West Seneca Fire District #6 is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town of West Seneca and the County of Erie in which it is located. The District is governed by an elected five-member Board of Fire Commissioners. The District’s budget for the 2012 fiscal year was $617,920, which was financed primarily by real property taxes.

Key Findings

The Board failed to properly establish internal controls or provide adequate oversight of the District’s financial operations.

  • Our testing disclosed that the District made payments of over $59,572 that appeared questionable, improper, or unnecessary, most of which were purchases made with District credit cards.
  • The Board’s audit of claims was largely ineffective and the Board did not properly supervise the Treasurer’s activities.
  • The District has not employed an IPA to audit the District’s finances or LOSAP as required by law.
  • The Board did not ensure that grants were properly managed. The District also failed to claim over $121,500 in grant money awarded to it by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Key Recommendations

  • Limit the expenditure of District funds to firefighting purposes and other costs that are necessary and allowable by law. Review the appropriateness of expense reimbursements, payments to the Treasurer and purchases made on the District’s credit cards and seek reimbursement from responsible officials for any personal, unauthorized or inappropriate activity.
  • Thoroughly review all documentation during its audit of claims, before approving amounts for payment.
  • Obtain an independent audit of the Treasurer’s financial records and LOSAP program as required by statute.
  • Develop procedures to ensure that any future Federal grants awarded to the District are properly monitored and that reimbursements are submitted in a timely manner. Contact FEMA to determine if the District can submit reimbursement claims for the SAFER and AFG grants.

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