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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Stillwater – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (2012M-158)


Released: December 14, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review selected financial activities of the Town for the period January 1, 2010, to September 30, 2011.

Background

The Town of Stillwater is located in Saratoga County and has a population of approximately 8,300 residents. The Town is governed by a Town Board that comprises the elected Town Supervisor and four elected council persons. For the 2011 fiscal year, budgeted appropriations for the general fund; part-town general fund; part-town highway fund; water, sewer, and lighting districts; and fire district totaled approximately $5.8 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not maintain equity among taxpayers by appropriately allocating expenditures between the town-wide and part-town funds. Instead, over a three-year period, the Board improperly allocated expenditures for Town buildings, the Town historian, and community center programs totaling $840,000 to the part-town general fund.
  • The Clerk's duties are not segregated, and the Clerk and her Deputy access computer resources using the same access identification. Furthermore, bank reconciliations have not been performed since 2008. She also deposited 19 receipts totaling $8,211 an average of nine business days later than required by law.
  • The Board did not audit the Clerk's records.
  • We found weaknesses in the internal controls over information technology (IT).

Key Recommendations

  • Repay the part-town general fund for the $840,000 improperly charged to the part-town taxpayers.
  • Ensure that duties are adequately segregated, and, where segregation of duties is impractical; put effective compensating controls in place. Discontinue the practice of using the same user identification and password to access the Town's computer system and using the same access identification to access the web-based State Department of Conservation System. Perform monthly bank reconciliations. Deposit all moneys collected intact and within three business days after the total exceeds $250.
  • Perform or contract for an annual audit of the Clerk's records.
  • Adopt an acceptable computer use policy, a breach notification policy, and comprehensive data back-up policies and procedures. Develop formal disaster recovery plan.

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