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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 Thurston – Financial Management (2013M-280)


Released: July 18, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town’s financial management, budgeting practices and resultant financial condition for the period January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2013.

Background

The Town of Thurston is located in Steuben County and has approximately 1,350 residents. The Town is governed by the Town Board, which is comprised of four elected members and an elected Town Supervisor. The Town’s main operating funds include the general and highway funds. Expenditures from those funds in the 2013 fiscal year totaled approximately $827,500.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not adopt structurally balanced budgets or consistently monitor the budget during the year.
  • The Board did not adopt a policy, or ensure that procedures were in place, to govern the level of fund balance to be maintained. As a result, the general and highway funds’ unexpended surplus funds are declining.
  • After August 2012, the Board agreed that the Supervisor was only required to provide the Board with quarterly budget status reports. Without monthly budget status reports, the Board lacked the information necessary to monitor the budgets against operations and make adjustments.
  • The Board did not perform the fiscal year 2011 or 2012 annual audit of the books, records and documents of the Town Supervisor, Town Clerk, Tax Collector and Town Justice in a timely manner. The Board had still not performed the required audit of the 2011 or 2012 fiscal records of the Town Clerk, Tax Collector and Town Justice as of the end of audit field work.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish a policy and develop procedures for preparing realistic budgets. The Board should do so by using actual financial results from prior years and other relevant and available data.
  • Establish a policy and develop procedures to determine the appropriate amount of fund balance the Town should maintain.
  • Require and review monthly budget-to-actual reports and use them to monitor actual results against budget estimates throughout the year. The Board should make appropriate budget adjustments through resolution, prior to appropriation accounts becoming overexpended.
  • Conduct an annual audit or engage the services of a certified public accountant or public accountant to conduct the audits in a timely manner.

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