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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Vestal – Capital Acquisitions (2013M-78)

Released: June 14, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town’s planning and financing process for capital acquisitions for the period January 1, 2012, through January 15, 2013.


The Town of Vestal is located in Broome County and has a population of 28,000 residents. The Town is governed by an elected five-member Town Board comprising the Town Supervisor and four Board members. The Town’s 2013 budget appropriations were $24.5 million.

Key Findings

  • Town officials did not always properly plan and finance the acquisition of capital assets and projects. The Board did not have a formal multiyear capital plan or a long-term financing plan in place.
  • Town officials relied on annual requests from department heads seeking to fulfill their immediate capital needs and primarily issued debt to finance the capital expenditures they approved. As a result, over a ten-year period the Town’s outstanding debt more than doubled, from $9 million in 2002 to over $18 million in 2012.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a formal comprehensive multiyear capital plan.
  • Consider alternative methods of financing to fund acquisitions, such as pay-as-you-go and use of reserve funds. Ensure that the long-term capital planning is integrated into the budgetary process.

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