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Butler fireman’s relief association quickly responds to state audit

Ownership of four rescue vehicles purchased with state funds given to the Butler Township Volunteer Fireman’s Relief Association was flagged in an audit by the state Department of Auditor General.

The department released its audit report Friday, May 18, for 36 Volunteer Firefighter’s Relief Associations for 25 counties including Butler County.

The Butler Township relief association was cited with “inappropriate ownership of rescue vehicles” for four 2019 Ford rescue vehicles purchased in 2019 for $137,000. The titles to the vehicles were, according to the compliance audit, “inappropriately issued in the name of the affiliated fire district.”

The relief association, according to Chief Kevin Smith of the Butler Township Volunteer Fire District, has already taken the corrective action and has followed up with the state.

“When they purchased the vehicle, we purchased them with the relief money,” Smith said Friday. “They accidentally titled them to the fire department, and we just had to transfer it over to the relief association.”

The Department of the Auditor General distributes funds for relief associations and then conducts an audit every three years on how the funds are used. The funds are generated by a 2% tax on fire insurance policies sold in Pennsylvania by out-of-state companies.

“Relief associations provide vital support to Pennsylvania’s dedicated first responders,” said Auditor General Timothy Defoor in the news release “Our audits make sure state aid is used to equip and protect volunteer firefighter and the communities they serve.”

According to the audit, the township relief association had 60 days to verify compliance with the department’s recommendations, failing to do so would have “lead to a total withholding of state aid in the future.”

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