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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Corning – Budget Management (2011M-191)


Released: January 6, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the Town’s budget management for the period January 1, 2009 to April 26, 2011.

Background

The Town of Corning is located in Steuben County. The Town is governed by the Town Board, which comprises four elected members and an elected Town Supervisor. The Town’s 2011 appropriations totaled $977,639 for the general funds, $1.1 million for the highway funds, $17,800 for lighting districts, $307,576 for fire protection districts and $154,452 for water districts.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not develop and adopt accurate budgets that were based on realistic estimates of revenues and expenditures. This occurred because the Supervisor did not provide relevant financial information during the budget process or throughout the year. As a result, fund balances that were appropriated as funding sources were not used, expenditures were overestimated, taxes were unnecessarily levied, and the Town accumulated $1,108,773 of unreserved, unappropriated fund balance in the general town-wide fund, which is excessive in comparison to the Town’s expenditure levels.
  • Conversely, the Town’s water and fire protection districts continue to be negatively impacted by the Board’s poor budgeting practices and have been forced to rely on inter-fund borrowings to sustain operations.
  • The Board failed to develop comprehensive multiyear financial plans to ensure that sufficient funds were available to finance water district improvements.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish written policies and procedures governing the budgeting process.
  • Request interim financial reports from the Supervisor for use in monitoring the Town’s financial operations and developing realistic budgets.
  • Develop a multiyear financial plan to establish the goals and objectives for funding long-term operating and capital needs. Monitor and update the plan on an ongoing 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