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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Owego Fire District – Board Oversight (2013M-26)

Released: April 19, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the Board’s oversight of cash disbursements, assets and fuel inventories for the period January 1, 2011, to December 13, 2012.


The Town of Owego Fire District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Town of Owego and Tioga County, in which it is located. The Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five elected members, with one member being appointed as Chairman. The District’s 2012 budget appropriations were approximately $1.2 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not audit and approve claims after the transactions occurred and prior to the Treasurer paying those claims. The Board did discuss many purchases prior to those purchases being made, thus ensuring that the goods purchased were for District purposes. However, without auditing the claims prior to payment, the Board could not be sure that the amounts paid were aligned with its previously established expectations.
  • The payroll vendor has access to a District bank account with a significant amount of District cash.
  • District officials could not account for more than 50 percent of fuel delivered to two of the three District fire stations.

Key Recommendations

  • Conduct a thorough and deliberate audit of all claims prior to payment to ensure that all claims have sufficient supporting documentation and ensure that the minutes clearly identify the specific claims that the Board approved.
  • Ensure that only appropriate District officials have access to District bank accounts.
  • Ensure that assets and inventories purchased by the District are properly recorded and monitored for appropriate use.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236