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Harrisburg, PA

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today released of audit reports for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations in Bucks, Butler, Columbia, Crawford, Delaware, Fayette, Luzerne, Montgomery, Schuylkill, Sullivan and Westmoreland counties.

“…audits of volunteer firefighter relief associations ensure that critical funds are used properly in
helping volunteer firefighters save lives and protect communities,” DePasquale said.

The Department of the Auditor General examines 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 fire relief association funding for distribution to
local volunteer firefighters’ relief associations to provide training, purchase equipment and insurance,
and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters. 

The results of the audits are as follows:

Bucks County

Falls Township Fire Co. No. 1 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: duplicate payments and brokerage account inappropriately registered under unknown federal tax identification number.

The VFRA erroneously made a duplicate payment of $1,523 to two equipment vendors.

Butler County

Herman 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: undocumented expenditures and failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

The VFRA did not provide documentation for $9,698 in expenses to training and equipment vendors.

Columbia County

Beaver 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 recommendation for inadequate relief association bylaws.

Crawford County

Conneaut Lake Park 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: noncompliance with prior audit recommendations for undocumented expenditures and failure to conduct annual physical inventories.

The VFRA had $323 in undocumented expenditures for a training vendor.

Delaware County

Tinicum 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 inadequate minutes of meetings. 

Fayette County

Collier VFRA – No findings 

Luzerne County

Kunkle VFRA – No findings

Salem 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 five findings: undocumented expenditures, failure to maintain minutes of meetings, inadequate financial record-keeping system, failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster and failure to maintain a complete and accurate membership roster.

The VFRA had $9,247 in undocumented expenses.

Montgomery County

Centre Square 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: failure to secure ownership interest in jointly purchased flooring, failure to comply with terms of mortgage agreement and failure to disclose related party transactions.

The VFRA spent $53,345 for epoxy flooring at the affiliated fire company but did not secure ownership interest in the purchase.

The affiliated fire company continued to make interest-only payments on a mortgage to the VFRA though it agreed to begin making interest and principal payments in January 2018.

The VFRA did not disclose doing business with an equipment and maintenance vendor that employees a VFRA officer.

Schuylkill County

Saint Clair 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 four findings: failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster and noncompliance with prior recommendations for inadequate relief association bylaws, insufficient bond coverage and untimely deposit of state aid.

Sullivan County

Forksville VFRA – No findings  

Westmoreland County

Avonmore 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.

The VFRA had bond coverage for $10,000 but had cash assets valued at $11,114.