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March 27, 2012


Comptroller DiNapoli Releases Municipal Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Essex No. 1 Fire District, Savannah Fire District and the Syosset Fire District.

"My office's audits of local governments improve their financial management practices," DiNapoli said. "These audits are tools for local officials to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect taxpayer dollars and provide the best possible service these taxpayer dollars can deliver."

Essex No. 1 Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Essex County)
The board has adopted a code of ethics, but has not adopted a procurement or investment policy as required by statute. The treasurer submits a monthly report to the board that includes the current month and year-to-date receipts and disbursements and a budget comparison to the actual revenues and expenditures by individual budget line item. However, the report is not accompanied by bank statements or bank reconciliations. The treasurer has not filed an annual financial report since the fiscal year ending December 31, 2006. Finally, the board did not conduct an annual audit of the treasurer’s records, as required by statute.

Savannah Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Wayne County)
The board was unable to provide auditors with adopted procurement and investment policies, and a code of ethics, as required. The board also has not adopted written procedures concerning financial recording and reporting. The board also did not establish policies or procedures to guide the district’s management in the establishment, use and record keeping requirements of reserve funds. The district reports a capital reserve fund, which was established prior to 1989, and had a balance of $59,800 as of December 31, 2010. District officials were unable to provide resolutions or other documentation as to the reserve fund’s purpose or the exact date this reserve was established. Depending on the date of establishment and purpose of this reserve fund, different rules may apply for public participation in the establishment of and expenditures made from it.

Syosset Fire District – Competitive Quotations and User Permissions (Nassau County)
The district did not develop a competitive process for the procurement of goods and services below the competitive bidding threshold. Auditors reviewed 30 payments totaling $88,738 and found 20 payments made to vendors totaling $52,888 that were not procured using a competitive process. For example, the district paid a vendor $3,350 to update the decals on a district vehicle without obtaining any alternate quotes. The district does not have a policy outlining how user access rights should be established or modified. While auditors did not identify an unauthorized access or inappropriate use of district systems, the district should improve controls over access and user permissions.

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