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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District – Internal Controls Over Cash Receipts and Disbursements (2012M-186)


Released: December 14, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the accounting records and internal controls of the District for the period of January 1, 2011, to August 16, 2012.

Background

The Niagara County Soil and Water Conservation District (District) is one of 58 such Districts in New York State. These Districts provide services and fund projects to improve and maintain wildlife habitat, help control and prevent water pollution from non-point sources, and manage erosion control and other related land-use issues. The District is governed by a seven-member board of directors and has four employees. The District's revenues totaled $394,462 and include State and Federal aid and grants, a County appropriation, as well as sales and services to customers. General fund expenditures totaled $558,181 for the 2011 fiscal year.

Key Findings

Internal controls over cash receipts and disbursements were not appropriately designed or operating effectively.

  • District employees did not always issue press-numbered duplicate receipts, and cash disbursements were made prior to Board authorization.
  • The Board also did not adequately segregate duties or conduct an adequate annual review of District records.

Key Recommendations

  • Provide a press-numbered duplicate receipt to the customer at the time payment is received. Review and approve vendor claims before they are paid.
  • Ensure that duties are segregated so that no one person controls all phases of a transaction. Review the District's financial records more frequently and/or engage an auditor to perform a review of the records.

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