Auditor General DePasquale Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations in 10 Counties


October 07 2020
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Auditor General DePasquale Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations in 10 Counties

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HARRISBURG (Oct. 7, 2020) – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today announced the release of audit reports for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations (VFRAs) in Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Jefferson, Luzerne, Mercer, Northumberland, Pike and Westmoreland counties.

“Volunteer firefighter relief associations support fire and rescue crews as they perform their dedicated, often heroic, duties,” DePasquale said. “We are forever grateful.”

State aid for VFRAs comes from a 2 percent tax on fire insurance policies sold in Pennsylvania by out-of-state companies. In 2019, 2,518 municipalities received nearly $60 million for distribution to VFRAs to provide training, purchase equipment and insurance, and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters.

The Department of the Auditor General distributes the state aid and audits VFRAs. The full audit reports for VFRAs with findings are available online using the links provided below; others are available online at: www.PaAuditor.gov/audit-reports.

Allegheny County

Logan’s Ferry Heights VFRA   

Complied with applicable state laws, contracts, bylaws and administrative procedures as they relate to the receipt of state aid and the expenditure of relief association funds, except for one finding: inappropriate ownership of rescue vehicle.

A 2009 Pierce International Engine is inappropriately titled to the fire company instead of the VFRA.

Berks County

Seisholtzville VFRA

Complied with applicable state laws, contracts, bylaws and administrative procedures as they relate to the receipt of state aid and the expenditure of relief association funds, except for three findings: inadequate minutes of meetings, untimely receipt and deposit of state aid and inadequate financial record-keeping system.

The relief association did not deposit $4,968 in 2019 state aid from Longswamp Township within 60 days of receipt.

Bucks County

Cornwells VFRA – No findings.

Dauphin County

Hummelstown Chemical Fire Co. No. 1 VFRA – No findings.  

Jefferson County

Reynoldsville VFRA – No findings. 

Luzerne County

Trucksville VFRA

Complied with applicable state laws, contracts, bylaws and administrative procedures as they relate to the receipt of state aid and the expenditure of relief association funds, except for two findings: inadequate minutes of meetings and noncompliance with prior audit recommendation for failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

Mercer County

South Pymatuning VFRA

Complied with applicable state laws, contracts, bylaws and administrative procedures as they relate to the receipt of state aid and the expenditure of relief association funds, except for one finding: undocumented expenditure.

As a result of the audit, the affiliated fire company reimbursed the relief association $1,500.

Northumberland County

East Cameron Township VFRA – No findings. 

Mount Carmel VFRA – No findings.  

Pike County

Milford VFRA

Complied with applicable state laws, contracts, bylaws and administrative procedures as they relate to the receipt of state aid and the expenditure of relief association funds, except for two findings: failure to maintain minutes of meetings and failure to disclose related-party transactions.

The relief association did business with a local insurance agency that employs a relief association officer. The VFRA paid $121,093 to this vendor for insurance and an annuity during the audit period.

Tafton VFRA – No findings.  

Westmoreland County

New Kensington VFRA – No findings.  

Sewickley Township Fire Co. No. 4 VFRA – No findings.   

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