For Immediate Release
Contact: Steve Halvonik 717-787-1381
Auditor General Jack Wagner Finds Three
Berks County VFRAs in Compliance with the Law
HARRISBURG (Jan. 29, 2009) -- Auditor General Jack Wagner said today that audits of three Berks County Volunteer Firefighter Relief Associations determined that they were in compliance with tested laws and regulations.
Reports covering the audit period Jan. 1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2007 were:
• Lower Alsace VFRA
• Mohnton VFRA
• Temple VFRA
"The proper management of funds in these Berks County VFRAs ensures that they will continue to support local volunteer firefighters who bravely put themselves at risk to help protect their neighbors’ health and property,” Wagner noted.
VFRAs are non-profit organizations established to afford financial protection to volunteer firefighters who suffer misfortune as a result of their participation in the fire service. VFRAs receive state aid from a 2-percent state tax on fire insurance purchased by Pennsylvania residents from insurance companies incorporated outside of the commonwealth. These funds are used to pay for insurance to protect volunteer firefighters, to purchase fire equipment and to cover volunteer training expenses. VFRAs are distinct separate legal entities from fire companies.
The Department of the Auditor General is responsible for auditing VFRA funds to make sure they are spent according to state law. The department also conducts workshops to help local firefighters comply with VFRA regulations.
Wagner's strong support for first responders and commitment to public safety issues dates back to his own experience as an Emergency Medical Technician, working his way through Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
"I understand first-hand and have a deep respect for what volunteers do for our communities across the commonwealth," Wagner said.
The Department of the Auditor General distributed on behalf of the commonwealth more than $70 million to 1,959 local VFRAs in 2008.
Auditor General Jack Wagner is responsible for ensuring that all state money is spent legally and properly. He is the commonwealth’s elected independent fiscal watchdog, conducting financial audits, performance audits, and special investigations. The Department of the Auditor General conducts approximately 5,000 audits per year. To learn more about the Department of the Auditor General, taxpayers are encouraged to visit the department’s website at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us.