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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 Sidney – Budget Review (B4-14-19)


Released: November 4, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our budget review was to determine whether the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the Town’s preliminary budget for the 2015 fiscal year are reasonable.

Background

The Town of Sidney, located in Delaware County, issued debt totaling $2.5 million to liquidate a portion of the cumulative deficit incurred by the Town due to expenses related to the Town-owned hospital for the fiscal year that ended December 31, 2005. Local Finance Law requires all local governments that have been authorized to issue obligations to fund operating deficits to submit their preliminary budgets for the next fiscal year to the State Comptroller for review while the deficit obligations are outstanding.

Key Findings

  • Based on the results of our review, we found that revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable.
  • The Town’s projections for rental income in the Hospital Fund included $30,000 of lease payments for which no lease agreement exists. As a result, the Town underestimated rental revenue by a total of $65,000.
  • The Town is reporting accounts payable in the Hospital Fund related to the hospital which closed in 2005. While the Hospital Fund is primarily responsible for the $1.9 million payable, the fund has only approximately $535,000 in current resources available to liquidate the liability. Because the Town has been reporting the same liability for several years without any changes, we recommend that Town officials determine if these payables are legitimate liabilities and, if not, remove them from the balance sheet.
  • If the Hospital Fund $1.9 million liability balance is still valid, then Town officials are appropriating $128,862 of fund balance that is unavailable. The Hospital Fund would report an estimated fund balance deficit of approximately $1.4 million.
  • The Town’s preliminary budget complies with the property tax levy limit.

Key Recommendations

  • The Board should not appropriate fund balance that does not exist.
  • The Board should be mindful of the legal requirement to maintain the tax levy increase to no more than the tax levy limit as permitted by law, unless it adopts a local law to override the cap.

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