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NYS Comptroller


Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Town of Clarkson – Budgeting and Board Oversight (2013M-339)

Released: February 21, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town’s budgeting practices and Board oversight for the period January 1, 2012 through July 11, 2013.


The Town of Clarkson is located in Monroe County. The Town is governed by an elected Town Board, which comprises a Supervisor and four Board members. The Town’s 2013 budgeted appropriations totaled approximately $2.9 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not develop policies or procedures for budgeting practices and, as a result, repeatedly adopted budgets with unrealistic estimates for revenues, expenditures and appropriated fund balance. These inaccurate budgets caused significant budget variances and resulted in unused appropriated fund balance; fund balances were not actually reduced at the levels represented to taxpayers in the adopted budgets.
  • The Board also has not adopted, reviewed, updated or enforced adequate financial-related policies to ensure Town resources are protected.
  • The financial duties in the Supervisor’s Office were not adequately segregated and there were no effective compensating controls.
  • The Board has not entered into detailed written agreements with the payroll processor and bank to ensure that the Town’s information and resources are adequately safeguarded.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgeting policies and procedures which include defining reasonable amounts of unexpended surplus funds that the Town should maintain. Develop and adopt budgets with realistic estimates of revenues and expenditures and the appropriation of fund balance only in amounts that are available and necessary to fund operations.
  • Establish written policies required by law and sound business practices for Town operations.
  • Adequately segregate the financial duties of the Supervisor’s office or implement effective compensating controls, such as reviewing financial reports, audit logs, or change reports provided by the financial software.
  • Review the current "agreement" for payroll services with the Town’s legal counsel and make amendments, as appropriate, so that the private contractor does not exercise the custodial and disbursing functions vested by statute in the Supervisor, and to ensure that its information and resources are protected. Enter into a comprehensive agreement with the Town’s bank.

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