County of Cortland – Departmental Operations (2013M-157)

Issued Date
August 13, 2013

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the County’s departmental financial operations for the period January 1, 2011, through December 12, 2012.


Cortland County is located in central New York State and has a population of approximately 49,000. The County is governed by an elected Legislature which is composed of 19 members, one of whom also serves as the Chairman of the Board. The County’s budgeted expenditures for the 2013 fiscal year are $123.1 million.

Key Findings

County officials are not ensuring that various departmental operations and functions are operating at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.

  • The Sheriff’s office is understaffed and incurring an average of more than $500,000 annually in overtime. The County could save from $44,000 to $177,000 a year depending on the number of additional officers hired in the jail and road patrol.
  • The County is not imposing certain allowable fees that the probation department could collect, ranging between $9,500 and $42,300 annually.

Key Recommendations

  • Consider hiring additional positions in the Sheriff’s office.
  • Consider imposing fees for probation supervision, drug testing, and electronic monitoring.
  • Further review various departmental operations and functions, and compare the level of cost and services provided to similar counties, to ensure they are operating at the lowest possible cost to taxpayers.