Auditor General Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations in 24 Counties

Auditor General Releases Audits for Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Associations in 24 Counties

Harrisburg, PA

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale  announced the release of audit reports for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations in Allegheny, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Clearfield, Cumberland, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Juniata, Luzerne, Mercer, Montgomery, Potter, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, Susquehanna, Warren, Wayne, Washington, Westmoreland and York counties.

“My 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 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 local VFRAs to provide training, purchase equipment and insurance, and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters.

Allegheny County

Cheswick VFRA – No findings 

Ingram VFRA – No findings 

Parkview VFRA – No findings  

Scott Township VFRA – No findings 

Beaver County

Aliquippa VFRA – No findings

Bedford County

Bedford VFRA – No findings 

Butler County

Lick Hill VFRA – No findings

Clearfield County

B.J.W. 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 a complete and accurate equipment roster and failure to maintain a complete and accurate membership roster.

Cumberland County

Newburg-Hopewell 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 payment of state sales tax, and inadequate relief association bylaws.

Auditors recommend the VFRA seek a refund of $1,280 in paid sales taxes.

Delaware County

Norwood 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

Markleysburg-Henry Clay VFRA – No findings 

Franklin County

Metal Township VFRA – No findings

Greene County

New Freeport VFRA – No findings  

Juniata County

East Waterford VFRA – No findings 

Luzerne County

Pond Hill-Lily Lake VFRA – No findings

Mercer County

Jefferson Township VFRA 

Montgomery County

Fairmount VFRA – No findings

Potter County

Coudersport VFRA – No findings 

Schuylkill County

Forestville 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: inadequate signatory authority for the disbursement of funds.

Hegins 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 relief association bylaws, and noncompliance with prior audit recommendation for failure to maintain a complete and accurate equipment roster.

Palo Alto VFRA – No findings 

South Cass Citizens VFRA – No findings  

Tremont Ambulance 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: the association does not comply with requirements of Act 118.

While the Tremont Ambulance Fireman’s Relief is affiliated with the Tremont Area Ambulance Association, the same is an emergency medical service organization and not a fire company as required under Act 118.

Snyder County

Perry 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: untimely receipt and deposit of state aid.

Somerset County

Boswell VFRA – No findings 

Susquehanna County

Great Bend VFRA – No findings 

Warren County

Spring Creek 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 insufficient bond coverage.

Wayne County

Browndale 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: undocumented expenditures, unauthorized expenditures, untimely receipt and deposit of state aid and inadequate signatory authority for the disbursement of funds.

The VFRA did not provide adequate documentation for $1,681 in expenses to an equipment vendor and the affiliated fire company. The VFRA also had $1,655 in unauthorized expenses where it spent funds on equipment maintenance on a fire company-owned vehicle.

Greene-Dreher VFRA – No findings 

Pleasant Mount Emergency Service Association – No findings

Washington County

Amwell Township VFRA – No findings 

Finleyville VFRA – No findings 

Westmoreland County

Greensburg VFRA – No findings  

New Kensington VFRA – No findings 

York County

Dillsburg 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 untimely deposit of state aid.

The VFRA did not deposit $19,865 in state aid from Carroll Township and $15,612 in state aid from Dillsburg Borough within the 60 day of receipt deadline.

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Don Shaw

Don Shaw journalist covering local news for The Pennsylvania Chronicle (717) 461-2107 don.shaw@pennsylvaniachronicle.com