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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Coventry – Financial Operations (2012M-33)


Released: July 20, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town's financial operations for the period January 1, 2010, to August 31, 2011.

Background

The Town of Coventry is located within Chenango County. The Town Board is the legislative body that is responsible for managing Town operations; including establishing internal controls over financial operations and maintaining a sound financial position. The Town's adopted budget for 2011 was approximately $637,500.

Key Findings

  • The former Supervisor made disbursements that the Board was not aware of, were not adequately supported and were not allowable. For example, the former Supervisor had two personal income tax refunds totaling $1,200 deposited into a town bank account and then wrote Town checks to himself for the same amount. The Town also reimbursed the former Supervisor $595 for 100 percent of the usage for his personal cell phone, which he did not use exclusively for Town business.
  • Although the Clerk's financial records were up-to-date, she did not always deposit, disburse and report money received in a timely manner. For example, the Clerk did not deposit fees collected in November 2010 totaling $1,033 until December 21, 2010, and did not disburse fees collected in May, June and July 2010 totaling $501 until August 2010.
  • The former Assessor did not maintain adequate supporting documentation for real property tax exemptions that he had authorized for four parcels totaling $201,605. As a result, the property owners received tax reductions totaling $1,147 per year.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all claims are presented for approval before payments are made.
  • Ensure that the Clerk deposits all money received within three business days, or as soon as the accumulated receipts exceed $250 and that the Clerk disburses money to the Supervisor in a timely manner.
  • Maintain documentation to support eligibility for all real property tax exemptions.

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