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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Oneonta Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-243)


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

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether District controls are adequate to ensure that financial activity is properly recorded and reported and that District moneys are safeguarded for the period January 1, 2012 through July 8, 2013.

Background

The District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town of Oneonta and located in Otsego County. The Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five members. The District’s general fund budget totaled approximately $941,000 for the 2013 fiscal year.

Key Findings

The Board did not establish adequate controls to ensure that financial activity was properly recorded and reported and to safeguard District moneys. Specifically, the Board did not:

  • Adopt an investment policy or a code of ethics,
  • Issue a W-2 form for the Treasurer’s wages and take out withholdings from her gross pay,
  • Perform a thorough audit of claims before payments are made,
  • Obtain an audit of the District’s records by an independent public accountant and
  • Verify the applicability of the wording in the contract relating to the calculation of the District’s annual fire protection bill.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish a system of internal controls consisting of policies and procedures that provide guidance for District officials, including an investment policy and code of ethics.
  • Issue a W-2 form for the Treasurer’s services, take out the required withholdings from her gross pay and report and remit the withholdings to the appropriate Federal and State agencies in a timely manner.
  • Perform a thorough audit of claims before payments are made.
  • Have an independent public accountant conduct an audit of the District’s records.
  • Negotiate a new fire protection contract with the City that would allow for the use of documents that would actually be available at the time of billing to calculate the contract amount.

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