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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Endwell Fire District – Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-277)


Released: January 31, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the District’s controls over financial operations for the period January 1, 2012 through June 14, 2013.

Background

The Endwell Fire District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town of Union and the County of Broome in which it is located. The Board of Fire Commissioners, which consists of five elected members, governs the District. The District’s 2013 budget appropriations are approximately $896,700, which are funded primarily with real property taxes.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not ensure that all disbursements were for proper purposes. The Board did not audit and approve 63 disbursements prior to payment, totaling $149,505. We reviewed 64 disbursements totaling $110,090 that were approved by the Board and found discrepancies with 31 disbursements totaling $24,808. Of this amount, $5,883 was disbursed for items that were not appropriate District expenditures, such as clambake tickets, volunteer incentive gifts, meals and travel expenses for mutual aid.
  • The payroll vendor has access to a District bank account with a significant amount of District cash.
  • While District officials did establish policies to safeguard the use of certain District vehicles, they did not implement such policies for District-owned computers.
  • The Board also did not properly manage the District’s financial condition. We found deficiencies in the manner in which the Board budgeted for operations and capital purposes.
  • The District had no formal long-term capital plan.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all expenditures are for allowable purposes and audit all claims prior to payment.
  • Ensure that only the Treasurer has access to District bank accounts.
  • Create an acceptable use policy that establishes appropriate and acceptable practices regarding the use of computer resources.
  • Develop budgets based on realistic estimates of appropriations and monitor financial activity to ensure that operations stay within the budget. Develop a plan to reduce the amount of unexpended surplus funds in a manner that benefits District taxpayers.
  • Adopt a long-term capital plan to address the acquisition and replacement of capital assets.

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