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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 Cayuta – Board Oversight and Cash Receipts and Disbursements (2015M-6)


Released: August 28, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Board’s oversight and the Town’s cash receipts and disbursements processes for the period January 1, 2012 through December 10, 2014.

Background

The Town of Cayuta is located in Schuyler County and has a population of approximately 600 residents. The Town is governed by an elected five-member Town Board. The Town’s budgeted appropriations for all funds were $357,927 for 2015.

Key Findings

  • The 2012 through 2014 Board-adopted budgets planned for operating deficits that were never realized because they included inaccurate estimates of revenues and appropriations to generate operating surpluses so that the Town could purchase equipment and make capital improvements.
  • In each of the fiscal years 2012 through 2014, the general fund had available fund balance that was between 62 and 71 percent of the ensuing year’s budget and the highway fund had available fund balance that was between 21 and 53 percent of the ensuing year’s budget.
  • The Board did not audit the books and records of any of the Town officers and employees that handled cash.
  • Neither Code Enforcement Officer maintained records for all issued building permits.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish reserves and include a provision in the budget for their funding, instead of inflating budget estimates to incur an operating surplus.
  • Reduce the surplus fund balance in the general and highway funds. If the Board believes it is necessary to accumulate money for future planned purposes, it should formally establish reserve funds. Other uses for surplus funds include financing one-time expenditures and reducing property taxes.
  • Annually audit or contract for an audit of the books and records of all officials and employees that receive and disburse Town funds.
  • Issue duplicate pre-numbered receipts for all building permits.

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