State audit asks Lily Dale to keep better track of fire funds

LILY DALE – The New York State Comptroller’s Office has asked the Lily Dale Volunteer Fire Company to keep better track of its finances.

According to a press release sent out by the comptroller’s office detailing a recent audit report, “The executive committee (of the fire company) generally does not provide adequate oversight of company financial activities because the treasurer does not provide adequate monthly or annual reports. The treasurer was unable to provide monthly reports for 10 of the 18 months in the audit period.”

“Without monthly reports, the executive committee does not have a means of assessing and monitoring the fire company’s financial operations,” the report continued. “The treasurer’s failure to prepare an annual report leaves the company without a means to demonstrate its financial standing to its members and other interested parties.”

The audit found that because funds were not being properly watched, $224 in overdraft fees from January 2013 to August 2013 were incurred and the company had an operating surplus of $198 in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Bernard Payne, president of the Lily Dale Volunteer Fire Company, sent a letter to the comptroller’s office on Jan. 20 detailing the corrective action plan of amending the by-laws, which has already been completed.

“All bills are currently reviewed at the membership meetings and approval for payment is by vote of the membership at monthly meetings,” he wrote. “The by-laws currently require the treasurer to make a monthly report showing all monies received and all expenditures. The treasurer is also required to make an annual report. The by-laws will be amended to require the treasurer to make these reports in writing.”

Payne added the executive committee will start conducting an audit of the treasurer twice every year. That is another change in the by-laws, which previously stated the audits were to be done “when deemed necessary.”

The fire company will also begin having the secretary receive all monies and make a receipt stating the amount of money and its origin. The secretary will then turn the money over to the treasurer, who will deposit it into the bank. Previously, the treasurer was responsible for the collection of revenues.

The audit covered the period from April 1, 2012 through October 10, 2013. During that time, 226 disbursements totaling $54,054 were made. About $34,000 was deposited into the company’s bank accounts during the period from April 2012 through March 2013.

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