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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Village of Liberty – Financial Condition (2013M-109)


Released: October 4, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Village’s financial condition for the period June 1, 2011, to May 31, 2013.

Background

The Village of Liberty is located in Sullivan County and has a population of 4,392. The Village is governed by an elected five-member Village Board comprising the Village Mayor and four Trustees. The Village’s 2013-14 budgeted appropriations for all operating funds totaled approximately $6.4 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board’s adopted budgets were based on accounting records with discrepancies because the Clerk-Treasurer did not maintain the Village’s accounting records in an accurate manner. As a result, in two of the last five fiscal years, Village officials appropriated more fund balance than was available in the general fund.
  • The Board arrived at a tax levy it deemed necessary, but the Village rarely receives that total amount, making it necessary to use more fund balance than planned to offset that shortfall. However, the Board did not consider the affect of the unlikely collection of the full levy on its adopted budgets.
  • The Board has not developed long-term funding plans to address the Village’s deteriorating financial position and capital assets.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that her records are accurate for the Board to use as a sound basis for key financial decisions. Only appropriate fund balance that is available for use.
  • Make the necessary adjustments to the levy each year, within the real property tax cap limit, to offset the expected rate of uncollectible taxes.
  • Develop long-term funding for financial and capital plans and consider capital needs in its current estimates.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236