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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

White Lake Fire District – Budgeting Practices (2013M-156)


Released: August 30, 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, 2012, to April 23, 2013.

Background

The White Lake Fire District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town of Bethel, and located in Sullivan County. The Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five elected members. The District’s general fund budget totaled $234,950 for the 2013 fiscal year.

Key Findings

  • The Board has not properly developed its annual operating budgets. In three of the last five fiscal years, the District spent more money than it received. Budget inaccuracies contributed to the District using 54 percent of fund balance to fund the ensuing years’ appropriations. During this same period, the District budgeted to fund its reserves with approximately $115,000 of fund balance in anticipation of future equipment and repair needs. The fund balance has declined from approximately $71,000 in 2008 to $32,000 in 2012. During the budget development process, the Board did not consider historic trends and develop budgets with these trends in mind.
  • Throughout the fiscal year, the Board did not monitor budget performance or adjust the budgets to reflect actual expenditures as they occurred because the Treasurer was not providing reports showing budget performance.

Key Recommendations

  • Consider historic trends − as well as identified current and future needs − when developing budget estimates that are consistent with the District’s actual revenues and expenditures.
  • Monitor the budget throughout the year and amend budget lines before appropriations exceed estimates. Provide the Board with budget performance reports on a monthly basis.

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