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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 Wells – Justice Court (2012M-44)


Released: June 1, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review internal controls over the Court’s financial operations for the period January 1, 2010, to January 25, 2012.

Background

The Town of Wells is located in Hamilton County and has a population of 674 residents. The Town is governed by an elected Town Board consisting of the Town Supervisor and four Council members. During our audit period, the Justices adjudicated a total of 638 cases and remitted approximately $111,590 in fines, fees, and surcharges to the Supervisor to be distributed among New York State, Hamilton County, and the Town of Wells. The Town’s share of this amount was $35,738.

Key Findings

  • The Justices did not ensure that the Court’s accounting records were complete and that Court moneys were properly safeguarded because they did not perform bank reconciliations or accountabilities, and did not timely deposit Court moneys totaling $13,468.
  • The Justices were unable to properly account for the status of all Court moneys. Although the discrepancies identified were not large (Justice Morrison and Justice Malec had unidentified balances in their bank accounts of $256 and $67, respectively), not performing reconciliations and regular accountabilities increases the risk that errors and irregularities may have occurred and remained undetected.

Key Recommendations

  • Prepare monthly cash accountability reports and bank reconciliations. Ensure that all moneys received are deposited in a timely manner and intact.
  • Determine the source of the unidentified moneys in the Court bank account. If the money in the account cannot be identified, remit these unidentified moneys to the Town Supervisor or the Justice Court Fund, as appropriate.

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