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Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of New Paltz – Fiscal Oversight and Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2012M-99)


Released: September 28, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Board's fiscal oversight, the financial condition of the water and sewer districts, and internal controls over selected financial operations for the period January 1, 2010 to March 16, 2011.

Background

The Town of New Paltz is located in Ulster County. The five-member Town Board, including the Town Supervisor, is the legislative body responsible for managing Town operations. For the year ended December 31, 2010, the Town budgeted total operating expenditures of over $11 million in its major operating funds.

Key Findings

  • The Town has experienced a series of unplanned operating deficits in two of its water districts and one of its sewer districts in recent years. These deficits were caused by inaccurate budget estimates and the Board's insufficient monitoring of financial operations throughout the year. The resulting decline in fund balances has, in turn, caused the districts to experience cash flow problems.
  • The Board did not provide the necessary oversight of the Supervisor, and other Town officials and staff, and did not establish internal controls that ensured the Town's financial activity was accurately recorded and reported on a timely basis. Further, the Board failed to ensure that the Supervisor maintained and filed all records and reports in a timely manner.
  • The Board also needs to improve internal controls over cash receipts.
  • Town officials have not established adequate internal controls to effectively safeguard the Town's computer system and data.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt realistic, structurally balanced budgets and maintain sufficient cash flow for operations.
  • Improve oversight of the Town's financial activities by requesting that the Supervisor provide monthly financial reports. ensure that the Supervisor and bookkeeper maintain current and complete accounting records.
  • Develop and establish written policies and procedures for cash receipts that clearly assigns responsibilities and provides oversight for the collecting, recording, and depositing of cash receipts.
  • Monitor the use of computer systems and develop appropriate policies and procedures to safeguard the Town's computer system and data.

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