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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 Northampton – Financial Management and Internal Controls Over Town Clerk Receipts (2012M-233)

Released: May 3, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]


Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the Town’s financial management and the internal controls over the Clerk’s receipts for the period January 1, 2011, through February 29, 2012.

Background

The Town of Northampton is located in Fulton County and has a population of approximately 2,670. The Town is governed by a five-member Town Board comprising the Town Supervisor and four council members. Appropriations for all funds in the 2012 budget totaled approximately $1.9 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not adopt detailed policies and procedures for its budget preparation process and the routine monitoring of the budget against actual operating results during the year. As a result, the Board adopted budgets with inaccurate estimates of revenues and expenditures.
  • Activity in established reserves has not, in all cases, been in accordance with Board authorizations.
  • Deposits were not always made timely.
  • The Clerk also does not provide monthly reports timely to the Supervisor, or perform a monthly accountability of cash to liabilities.
  • The method of providing ambulance services to the Town is unclear. The Town has not entered into any contract with a volunteer ambulance squad or individual volunteers to provide an independent ambulance service.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt a policy and establish procedures for preparing realistic and structurally balanced budgets, using actual financial results from prior years and other relevant and available data.
  • Monitor reserves to ensure that activity is in accordance with Board authorizations.
  • Deposit all money collected intact and within three business days after the total exceeds $250.
  • Submit a monthly report of all moneys received and disbursed to the Supervisor in a timely manner. Establish cash accountability by comparing recorded liabilities to available cash on a monthly basis.
  • Consult with the Town’s legal counsel and determine the status of the Town ambulance service and related personnel, as well as how and if the Board wishes to continue providing ambulance services to its residents.

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