Board must improve oversight of financial operations: report

NORTHAMPTON – An audit found the Town Board did not provide adequate oversight and management of the town’s financial operations, a report from the New York State Comptroller’s Office said.

The report said the audit – which covered the town’s financial operations and management from Jan. 1, 2011, to Feb. 29, 2012 -?found the board did not adopt detailed policies and procedures for its budget preparation process.

The report also said the board failed to monitor the costs in the budget against actual operating results during the year.

“As a result, the board adopted budgets with inaccurate estimates of revenues and expenditures,” the report said.

With no adequate internal controls to ensure money collected by the clerk was recorded and deposited, the report said it was difficult to determine if deposits were made intact. Finally, the town clerk allegedly did not provide monthly reports to the supervisor.

According to the report, the comptroller suggested the board adopt a policy and establish procedures “for preparing realistic and structurally balanced budgets, using actual financial results from prior years and other relevant and available data.” The report also suggested actively monitoring current-year results against budget estimates throughout the year, as well as monitoring reserves.

According to a response written by Supervisor Linda Kemper, the town has not had an actual audit since the 1990s.

Risk assessments had been performed, she said, but the issues detailed were beyond the scope of the assessments.

“Corrective actions on many deficiencies within the town clerk’s office were implemented immediately, under the guidance of the field examiner, and are continuing to be done on a day-to-day basis,” Kemper said in her letter.

Kemper said today many of the corrective actions are being made, and the town will work on correcting the remaining issues.