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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Sylvan Beach Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-76)

Released: June 7, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if the District’s controls are adequate to ensure that financial activity is properly recorded and reported and that District moneys are safeguarded.


The Sylvan Beach Fire District is a district corporation of the State, distinct and separate from the Towns of Vienna and Verona, and located in Oneida County. The Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five elected members and is responsible for the District’s overall financial management. The District’s general fund budget totaled $189,933 for the 2012 fiscal year.

Key Findings

The Board needs to improve its oversight of District financial activities.

  • The Board did not ensure that the Secretary-Treasurer maintained complete and accurate financial information in order to provide the financial information necessary to develop accurate budgets and to properly monitor the District’s operations.
  • The Board has not adopted a code of ethics or an investment policy.
  • The Board did not properly audit claims and ensure that payroll procedures and payments were appropriate.

Key Recommendations

  • Maintain adequate accounting records, including revenue and expenditure (subsidiary) ledgers and general ledger cash accounts and provide the Board with monthly reports showing budget-to-actual activity to assist the Board in monitoring the District’s financial condition.
  • Adopt an investment and code of ethics, as required by statute.
  • Conduct a deliberate and thorough audit of all claims prior to payment, except those allowed to be pre-paid and audited at a subsequent Board meeting. Document approved salary rates in the minutes, require a time sheet to be completed by the District’s hourly employee and designate someone other than the Secretary-Treasurer to review payroll reports and confirm that they agree with the time sheet records.

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