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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Village of Highland Falls – Financial Condition and Purchasing Practices (2012M-57)

Released: June 22, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Village's financial condition and purchasing practices for the period June 1, 2010, through September 29, 2011.


The Village of Highland Falls is located in the Town of Highlands, Orange County. The Board of Trustees is the legislative body responsible for managing Village operations. The Village's total general fund appropriations for fiscal years 2010-11and 2011-12 were approximately $4.0 million and $4.3 million, respectively.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not develop and implement a multi-year financial or capital plan, causing the Village to borrow for expenditures which could have been included in the annual budget. We determined that as of May 31, 2011, the Village had seven bond anticipation notes outstanding totaling $752,800, and Village taxpayers have incurred short-term interest expenses of $234,000 since June 2006.
  • The Village has outstanding long-term debt of approximately $8 million, which ranks the Village the 40th highest among villages in the State for debt as a percentage of real property value.
  • The Treasurer does not record financial transactions consistently from year to year, making it difficult for the Board to estimate revenues and expenditures when developing budgets, and hindering the Board's ability to monitor the Village's finances throughout the year.
  • The Village obtained professional services for $345,000 without the benefit of a request for proposals process or competition, and purchased goods totaling $57,000 without obtaining the required quotes.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a multi-year financial/capital plan, which includes the Board's goals and objectives, outlines criteria for projects and/or purchases, and includes financing for the projects and/or purchases.
  • Evaluate the Village's debt and develop a comprehensive plan to reduce the outstanding debt.
  • Require the Treasurer to review all accounting entries and verify that line items are properly and consistently coded and reported in the accounting records.
  • Consistently follow the Village's procurement policy and use a competitive process, such as an RFP process, when procuring professional services. ensure that Village officials and/or employees comply with the Village's purchasing policy and obtain competitive quotes for goods and services as required.

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