By: Don Shaw email: don.shaw@pennsylvaniachronicle.com (570) 543-2961

Audits for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations in five counties released

Audits for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations in five counties released

Harrisburg, PA

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today announced the release of audit reports for volunteer firefighters’ relief associations in Allegheny, Butler, Fayette, Montgomery and Schuylkill counties.

“My oversight of volunteer firefighters’ relief associations helps emergency-services volunteers protect our citizens and communities,” DePasquale said. “I want to make sure the state funding they receive 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 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 volunteer firefighters’ relief associations to provide training, purchase equipment and insurance, and pay for death benefits for volunteer firefighters.

Allegheny County

Library VFRA – No findings  

Butler County

Oakland Township-Oneida Valley VFRA – No findings  

Fayette County

Dickerson Run, Liberty and Vanderbilt 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 over the disbursement of funds.

The VFRA issued several payments with only one signature of an officer when two are required.

South Union 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: improper equipment donation transaction.

The VFRA improperly donated a 1979 Mack Truck with a scrap value of $1,200 to the local municipality. As a result of the audit, the affiliated fire company reimbursed the VFRA $1,200. 

Montgomery County

McKinley 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 a vehicle.

A 2017 Ford purchased for $44,203 to carry personnel and safeguard equipment was inappropriately titled to the affiliated fire company.

Schuylkill County

MarLin 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 $25,000 but had $25,313 in cash assets.

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