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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Swan Lake Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-258)

Released: November 29, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether District controls are adequate to ensure that financial activity is properly recorded and reported and that District moneys are safeguarded for the period January 1, 2012 to June 27, 2013.


The Swan Lake Fire District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Towns of Liberty and Bethel, and is located in Sullivan County. The Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five elected members. The District's general fund budget totaled $264,600 for the 2013 fiscal year.

Key Findings

  • The Board's oversight of the District's purchasing process could be improved. We found one payment, totaling $9,999, made as the final payment for a $29,997 equipment installment purchase contract, which was not competitively bid, as required. Although the Board Chairman informed us it was bid, we were not provided any documentation to support this.
  • The Board has not adopted an investment policy, as required by statute.
  • The Secretary-Treasurer submits a budget-to-actual financial report to the Board at the start of the budget process, but not throughout the fiscal year.
  • The Secretary-Treasurer reconciles the bank accounts on a monthly basis. However, when we performed bank reconciliations for December 31, 2012 and May 31, 2013 and found that, for both months, the book balance of one account was $1,000 higher than the corresponding bank balance, the discrepancy could not be explained.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all applicable purchases comply with competitive bidding requirements prior to approving the contracts.
  • Adopt an investment policy.
  • Provide the Board with budget status reports on a monthly basis.
  • Reconcile the District’s accounting records to the bank statements monthly and follow up on any differences.

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