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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 Almond – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (2013M-209)


Released: November 15, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine selected financial activities from January 1, 2010, to June 7, 2013.

Background

The Town of Almond is located in Allegany County and has approximately 1,600 residents. The Town is governed by an elected five-member Town Board. The Town’s 2013 budget totals approximately $916,000.

Key Findings

  • The Board has not adopted a policy and Town officials have not developed procedures to address the level of unexpended surplus fund balance to be maintained. The Board’s overly conservative budgeting practices have resulted in the Town continuing to maintain excessive unexpended surplus fund balances in all four major operating funds. Specifically, at fiscal year-end 2012, the general fund-town-wide’s unexpended surplus fund balance was 69 percent of budgeted appropriations for 2013, the general fund town- outside-the-village’s was 106 percent, the highway fund town-wide’s was 63 percent, and the highway fund town-outside-the village’s was 85 percent of 2013 appropriations.
  • Internal controls over cash receipts in the Clerk’s office were not appropriately designed or operating effectively, which provided the Clerk/Tax Collector with an opportunity to misappropriate funds. Had the Board ensured that proper controls were in place, it may have been in a better position to detect or prevent the shortage of $3,385 in tax receipts and $400 in Clerk receipts as of March 7, 2013.
  • Had the Board conducted the annual audit of the Court, it may have been in a position to detect the shortage of $105 at March 31, 2013.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets that contain more realistic revenue and expenditure estimates. Develop a plan to reduce the unexpended surplus fund balance in its operating funds.
  • Provide documentation to law enforcement officials concerning the possible misappropriation of Town moneys. Ensure all payments made in error are refunded to the individual taxpayers to which they are owed.
  • Ensure that receipts are accurately recorded and reported to the Justice Court Fund.

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