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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 Sodus – Financial Management and Professional Services (2013M-99)


Released: September 13, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town’s financial management and procurement of professional services for the period January 1, 2011, through February 14, 2013.

Background

The Town of Sodus is located in Wayne County and has a population of approximately 8,400. The Town is governed by an elected Town Board, which comprises the Supervisor and four Board members. The Town’s 2013 budgeted town-wide (TW) general, TW highway, town-outside-village (TOV) general, TOV highway, and water appropriations totaled approximately $3.6 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not develop policies and guidelines for budget preparation and monitoring. As a result, it repeatedly adopted budgets with inaccurate revenue and expenditure estimates, which led to the accumulation of significant surplus funds.
  • The Board did not have a long-term plan for identifying fiscal trends, which would have facilitated the budgeting process.
  • The Board did not adopt an investment policy or develop guidelines over other key financial areas; did not properly authorize interfund advances; and did not provide for timely and/or proper annual audits of the Town Clerk, Town Justice, and Supervisor’s office.
  • The Town’s procurement policy does not require the solicitation of written proposals or quotes or other methods for the acquisition of professional services.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop and adopt a written policy for budget development and monitoring and for maintaining an appropriate level of fund balance in each fund. Develop realistic, structurally balanced budgets, taking into consideration actual results of prior years’ operations.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive long-term financial plan.
  • Adopt an investment policy as required by law. Approve interfund advances before they are made, and ensure they are properly recorded and amounts paid back, with interest as appropriate, within the year as required. Provide for a timely annual audit of all Town officials or employees who receive or disburse Town funds.
  • Consider amending the Town’s procurement policy to include the use of competitive methods when procuring professional services.

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