Skip to Content

Office of the State Comptroller - Local Government & School Accountability
Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Duanesburg – Financial Condition and Internal Controls Over Justice Court Operations and Information Technology (2011M-253)


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

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine internal controls over financial condition, Justice Court operations, and information technology for the period January 1, 2010, to March 3, 2011.

Background

The Town of Duanesburg is located in Schenectady County. The Town is governed by an elected five-member Town Board. The Town's budgeted appropriations for the 2011 fiscal year totaled $3.3 million.

Key Findings

  • For fiscal years 2006 through 2010, the Board adopted budgets that underestimated revenues by approximately $1.4 million and overestimated expenditures by approximately $235,000, contributing to annual operating surpluses that averaged nearly $195,000. Consequently, fund balances that the Board appropriated as funding sources were never used.
  • As of December 31, 2010, the Town has accumulated unexpended surplus funds in the general fund totaling $2,032,986, or 224 percent of the ensuing year's general fund budget. These significant idle moneys were not used to reduce the tax levy; in fact, the amount that the fund balance increased was nearly equal to the cumulative real property taxes raised, which totaled $979,377 during that time.
  • We identified weaknesses in the Justice Court's internal controls over financial operations.
  • The Town's internal controls over information technology need to be improved.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop revenue and expenditure estimates for the annual budget that are realistic to ensure that the amount of fund balance appropriated in the budget is actually used.
  • Develop long-term financial and capital plans that project operating and capital needs and financing sources for a three- to five-year period. If the Board believes it is necessary to accumulate money for a future, specifically planned purpose, it should consider formally establishing authorized reserves as provided for in statute.
  • Prepare monthly bank reconciliations and analyses of Court liabilities for comparison with available cash and ensure that all bail received and disbursed is properly accounted for.
  • Develop and adopt a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, ensure that backup copies of data are stored at a secure off-site location, and develop and adopt policies and procedures governing outside users' remote access rights.

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