EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – A state audit of the Eastchester Fire District – which is responsible for protecting Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville – found an operating deficit of $195,000 last year.
The office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the Board of Fire Commissioners, which comprises five elected officials, overspent on various budget line items, which led to the deficit.
The comptroller’s office also found that the board did not develop a capital plan to address the district’s deteriorating infrastructure, and said the district isn’t proactive but addresses maintenance needs on an emergency basis.
The audit also said the district’s financial records did not comply with accounting standards set forth by the comptroller, and the district’s treasurer was not provided with necessary training. Additionally, the district paid $394,191 to 11 professional services vendors without competitive bidding. The audit covered the period from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2011.
Calls to Eastchester fire personnel were not returned to The Daily Voice.
In his letter to the Board of Fire Commissioners, DiNapoli said the audit is a way for the state to help identify strategies to reduce costs and strengthen controls intended to safeguard government assets.
“The audit’s results and recommendations are resources for local government officials to use in effectively managing operations and in meeting the expectations of constituents,” he said.
The district employs 72 paid firefighters and covers an area of nearly five square miles, serving 34,000 residents. The district’s budget was about $14.5 million the past two years.
In response to the audit, the Board of Fire Commissioners agreed to adopt a formal policy for internal controls, find a certified accountant to train the treasurer and develop a long-term capital improvement plan by March 31, 2013.
In a letter to the comptroller’s office, the commissioners agreed to get the district in compliance with all local and state laws.
“The Board truly understands our interests are directly aligned with that of the Office of the State Comptroller and our taxpayers,” it said. “We are very grateful for the vast time and energy expended to produce the audit findings.”