Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found last week that Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief does not meet requirements to receive certain state aid.
The Auditor General’s office says the relief association doesn’t comply with Act 118, the Volunteer Firefighters Relief Act. Therefore, it’s unlikely to receive state aid in the future.
The big issue raised in the report is that Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief is not linked to a volunteer fire department. Instead, it’s connected with the Tremont Area Ambulance Association.
“The Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief doesn’t meet the statutory definition of a volunteer firefighter’s relief association and therefore, its eligibility to continue to receive and expend state aid under Act 118 may be adversely impacted or discontinued in the future,” the audit reads.
Act 118 provides state money to designated firemen’s relief associations in communities around the state.
In 2018, Schuylkill County firefighter relief associations received $659,286 in state funds.
The Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief group received $1,500 in state money in 2016. Tremont borough disperses the money to the relief fund. It did not get any money in 2017, the last year included in DePasquale’s audit of the organization. As of the end of 2017, the group had $3,111 on hand in cash.
Between 2016 and 2017, Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief spent $841 on equipment, another $1,000 in training and $200 in administrative costs.
Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief Not Compliant
Here’s what went wrong …
Tremont Ambulance Association created Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief to get money presumably to aid its group at fire fights. The money is used to purchase equipment and other expenses such a group would incur aiding at a fire scene.
Everyone knows, firetrucks aren’t the only ones showing up at the scene of a fire. The Ambulance Association created the supplemental organization to get a piece of that state action, albeit a tiny piece.
The Auditor General’s office says no, though. You can tell what the office deems a firemen’s relief group from these statements:
“Act 118 is very clear in setting specific requirements for what constitutes a Volunteer Firefighters’ Relief Association,” DePasquale’s audit says.
“The Tremont Ambulance Firemen’s Relief is not affiliated with a volunteer fire company nor was the association formed primarily to afford financial protection to volunteer firefighters against the consequences of misfortune suffered as a result of their participation in the fire service.”
Tremont Ambulance’s next step is to consult with their attorney and figure out how to get compliant with Act 118 if it wants to receive these state funds in the future. The biggest hangup rests on who the Firefighter’s Relief is linked, the ambulance group instead of a fire department.
It may not sound like much, but losing out on even $1,000 a year can be rough on a volunteer group like Tremont Ambulance or other emergency services.
You can check out the full (PDF) report released April 2, 2019, here.