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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 Newfield – Selected Financial Activities (2013M-2)


Released: April 26, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review selected financial activities for the period January 1, 2011, to June 11, 2012.

Background

The Town of Newfield is located in Tompkins County and has a population of about 5,000 residents. The Town is governed by an elected five member Town Board, which consists of the Town Supervisor and four council members. For the 2012 fiscal year, the Town had budgeted appropriations of approximately $2.4 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not require the Supervisor to meet the fundamental financial responsibilities of his office. The 2012 accounting records were in disarray and the 2011 accounting records could not be produced for our review. No one can be sure that all moneys received were actually recorded and deposited, and that all moneys disbursed were for proper town purposes.
  • Cash was not reconciled, and had large unsupported adjustments in an attempt to force the accounting records to agree to the bank balance.
  • The monthly and the last two annual reports were not consistently provided by the Supervisor to the Board, and the annual reports filed with OSC are over one year late.
  • The Town’s unaccounted-for water of 39 percent was substantially more than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) industry standard, costing the Town approximately $19,000 each year.
  • Water bills were calculated inaccurately.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure the Supervisor is meeting the fundamental responsibilities of the position by requiring accounting records to be kept in an accurate and complete manner.
  • Require that cash per the accounting records is periodically reconciled to cash per the bank statement.
  • Require timely and accurate monthly and annual financial reports.
  • Properly reconcile the amount of water processed with the amount billed and identify and remedy potential causes of significant discrepancies in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that all water usage is billed correctly.

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