Auditor General DePasquale Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations in 15 Counties


May 07 2019
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Auditor General DePasquale Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations in 15 Counties

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HARRISBURG (May 7, 2019) – Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today announced the release of audit reports for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations in Bucks, Butler, Carbon, Columbia, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne, Lycoming, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Washington and Wayne counties.

“My oversight of volunteer firefighters’ relief associations helps emergency-services volunteers protect our citizens and communities,” DePasquale said. “I want to make sure state funding is used efficiently and effectively to help purchase life-saving equipment, training and insurance for thousands of first-responders.”

The Department of the Auditor General audits volunteer firefighters’ relief associations, which receive state aid from a 2 percent state tax on fire insurance premiums purchased by Pennsylvania residents from out-of-state casualty insurance companies.

In 2018, 2,518 municipalities received $55.1 million in state aid for distribution to relief associations to provide training, purchase equipment and insurance, and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters.

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.

Bucks County

Ottsville VFRA – No findings 

Butler County

Butler Township VFRA – No findings 

Carbon County

Mahoning Valley 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 adhere to relief association bylaws and insufficient bond coverage.

As of Dec. 31, 2018, the VFRA had $103,955 in cash assets but its bond coverage was $100,000.

Columbia County

Montour Township 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: noncompliance with prior audit recommendation for failure to conduct annual physical equipment inventories.

Scott Township 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 failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

Dauphin County

Hershey 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:   unauthorized expenditures and noncompliance with prior audit recommendation for failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

The VFRA spent $4,777 on a drone, drone accessories and drone training, which is not an allowable expense.

Delaware County

Morton-Rutledge 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: noncompliance with prior audit recommendation for failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

Fayette County

Allison Fire Department No. 2 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.

The VFRA purchased a rescue vehicle for $8,500. However, the vehicle was inappropriately titled in the name of the affiliated fire company and the VFRA.

Lackawanna County

Dunmore 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: untimely receipt and deposit of state aid and insufficient bond coverage.

As of Dec. 31, 2018, the VFRA had $226,468 in cash assets but its bond coverage was only $150,000.

Lancaster County

Lititz Fire Co. No. 1 – No findings 

Luzerne County

Dennison Township VFRA – No findings   

Lycoming County

Old Lycoming Township 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: noncompliance with prior audit recommendation for failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

Schuylkill County

Deer Lake and West Brunswick Fire Co. No. 1 VFRA – No findings  

Susquehanna County

Harford VFRA – No finding 

Washington County

North Strabane Township 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 deposit proceeds from equipment sold and inadequate signatory authority for the disbursement of funds.

As a result of the audit, the affiliated fire company deposited $5,200 in proceeds from the sale of equipment into the VFRA’s checking account.

Wayne County

Honesdale VFRA – No findings

Ledgedale 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: insufficient bond coverage. As a result of the audit, the VFRA increased its bond coverage to $75,000.

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