An audit report on the Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company was released this week after questions were raised over the company’s financial records.
According to State Auditor R. Thomas Wagner, Jr. the inspection came when the Office of the Attorney General notified his department that Belvedere’s former fire chief pled guilty to theft and forgery. The plea was made in November 2014 and was immediately investigated, since the chief held the position of Treasurer of the Wilmington Fire Fighter’s Association.
During the inspection, mismanagement was discovered on more than one occasion. Officials learned that the fire company struggled to pay its bills and was barely able to provide emergency services to the community.
In March 2014, the Board of Director’s meeting minutes revealed that the ambulance used to serve the community “has been out of service more than in service.” In fact, emergency responders even went through a period where they went without pay for an entire month.
Audit investigators were able to successfully obtain bank records despite claims that financial documentation was lost during the period of January to May 2014.
A copy of the complete report can be found at: Belvedere Volunteer Fire Company Inspection
Current Belvedere Fire Chief Bryant Cottman, who was hired in January 2015, as well as the station’s treasurer shared that the fire company is in better shape than it was a year ago and they are working closely with the accounting department to make sure things stay in order.