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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 Halfmoon – Financial Condition of the General and Highway Funds (2013M-55)


Released: August 6, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our examination was to evaluate the Town’s financial condition of the general and highway funds for the period January 1, 2011, to September 30, 2012.

Background

The Town of Halfmoon is located in Saratoga County and has a population of approximately 21,500. The Town is governed by a Board that comprises a Town Supervisor and four Councilmen. The Town’s general fund budget for the 2012 fiscal year was $7.3 million; the budget for the highway fund was about $3 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not develop budgets with realistic estimates of revenues. In recent years, the Board over-estimated the sales tax revenues and incorrectly estimated the amount of fund balance that would be available to finance operations. After the Board appropriated a portion of fund balance for 2012 operations, the general fund had a remaining deficit unreserved fund balance of approximately $748,000, and the highway fund had a deficit unreserved fund balance of approximately $837,000.
  • The Board did not employ long-term financial planning, which would have helped it identify historical budgeting trends.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets with realistic estimates for revenues that are based on historical and current information and develop realistic estimates for available fund balance. Implement a plan to eliminate the fund balance deficit of the highway fund.
  • Develop a multiyear financial plan that establishes priorities and goals, considers revenue and expenditure trends, and plans for the future use of reserve funds.

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