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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Essex – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (2015M-60)

Released: August 7, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town’s internal controls over selected financial operations for the period January 1, 2013 through October 31, 2014.


The Town of Essex is located in Essex County and has a population of approximately 670. The Town, which is governed by an elected five-member Town Board, has one water district and one sewer district. Budgeted appropriations for 2014 totaled approximately $1.22 million.

Key Findings

  • Town officials failed to establish comprehensive written policies and procedures for processing payroll and maintaining leave time accruals, resulting in incorrect payments, tax withholdings and deductions for health insurance premiums.
  • Not all employees’ leave accrual records were accurate.
  • The Town lacked comprehensive policies and procedures for water and sewer charges, resulting in weaknesses over billing, collecting and enforcing of water and sewer charges.
  • Town officials did not establish an adequate system of internal controls over transfer station cash receipts.

Key Recommendations

  • Establish comprehensive payroll processing policies and procedures.
  • Establish comprehensive leave time accrual policies and procedures.
  • Establish written policies and procedures to provide adequate guidance and internal controls over billing, collecting and enforcing of water and sewer charges.
  • Establish a comprehensive transfer station cash receipts policy.

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