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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Guilford – Oversight of Financial Operations (2011M-181)

Released: February 3, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]


Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the oversight of the financial operations for the period January 1, 2010 to April 25, 2011. We expanded our scope for Board oversight of the capital project to the period of September 5, 2007 to May 25, 2011.

Background

The Town of Guilford (Town) is located in Chenango County with a population of 2,922. An elected five-member Town Board (Board), which consists of the Town Supervisor (Supervisor) and four Council members, is the legislative body responsible for overseeing the Town's operations and finances. The Town's 2011 total appropriations for all budgeted funds totaled approximately $1.6 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not provide the proper oversight over the Town's capital project and was not comparing actual to budgeted expenditures over the life of the Town's capital project. The awarded bids for the capital project were $494,460 more than the voter-approved amount of $1.65 million, and the actual amount spent was $554,000 more than the approved amount. We could not find documentation for the verification of the quality of work at the close of each contract for four out of five contractors prior to the contractors receiving their final payments.
  • The Board did not ensure compliance with General Municipal Law relating to a prohibited conflict of interest. The Highway Superintendent and his spouse own a gas station from which the Town gets its unleaded fuel. The Town paid the fuel card vendor $9,513 and paid the gas station $490 directly.
  • The Board did not ensure that unleaded fuel was used only for Town vehicles and equipment. Of the 198 invoiced fuel purchases during the audit period, 98 of the transactions totaling $3,863 did not have supporting receipts.

Key Recommendations

  • Provide proper oversight of future capital projects.
  • Establish and implement controls to help ensure that the Town does not enter into contracts in which an officer or employee has a prohibited interest.
  • Ensure that individual receipts are reconciled to the vendor invoice prior to payment of the invoice and adequate records are maintained on each Town vehicle.

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