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  1. #1
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    Question Taxpayer Funded Department

    I have a question and I think I know the correct answer. If a Volunteer Fire Department receives partial funding from a city, the city pays workmans comp insureance on all the personnel, does the derpartment need to submit a yearly budget to the city council for review? Does that budget need to be available to for public review?

    I would believe the answer to be yes, but I can not find a definitive answer. The state is Iowa for those who are curious. The city owns the equipment and the building itself.

    Thanks for any input.


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Not necessarily. It all depends on the business relationship between the city and the fire company.
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  3. #3
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FirePrez2012 View Post
    I have a question and I think I know the correct answer. If a Volunteer Fire Department receives partial funding from a city, the city pays workmans comp insureance on all the personnel, does the derpartment need to submit a yearly budget to the city council for review? Does that budget need to be available to for public review?

    I would believe the answer to be yes, but I can not find a definitive answer. The state is Iowa for those who are curious. The city owns the equipment and the building itself.

    Thanks for any input.
    You need to direct this question to your solicitor.
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  4. #4
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    Sounds like an attorney question.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    We get a budget from our town that is from taxpayers. That money is for the trucks, hoses, gear, and all FF'ing equipment. The fire company owns the building. The fire company does fund-raisers and such to pay the costs of the building upkeep. All purchases made with the budget are "approved" by the town council and all those records are public. All puchases made for the building are from the fire company's account. That is not all public info. We do file a form 990 each year and that is public record.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  7. #7
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    My previous VFD was 100% funded by the town, however, we were a non-profit corporation and the funding was provided under contract, meaning that the town or the public had no legal access to our books.

    We did submit a budget overview to the town but did not provide them a detailed breakdown of how the money was spent.
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  8. #8
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    The answer is yes they should, but here's another thought. If you are a volunteer fire department, you are probably a 501(c)(3), non-profit corporation that is a public charity. This means you file taxes with the IRS. This also means that much of the tax information (namely your 990 like Bones said) you file is available online. Google "Your department name IRS" or "Your department name NCCS" and see what you find. Organizations like the National Center for Charitable Statistics place the IRS information on an easy to read database so that people can see details on who they donate to.

  9. #9
    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
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    After recent investigation, a department should be 501.c.4, not 501.c.3. The c.3 was set up for charitable organizations, not necessisarily not-for-profit service organizations. Same benefits to those that donate as well as the department, but it is a more accurate designation / description of the department and their role.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    After recent investigation, a department should be 501.c.4, not 501.c.3. The c.3 was set up for charitable organizations, not necessisarily not-for-profit service organizations. Same benefits to those that donate as well as the department, but it is a more accurate designation / description of the department and their role.
    In some cases....yes, in some....no. Our fundraising efforts are not intended nor used for the "service" part of our organization. They are used for the building expenses. The "service" part is funded via a very small line item in the Town's budget.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  11. #11
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    Our department is a fire district that is funded by taxation with a annual budget that must be voted on each February by the legal voters of the fire district. The fire district is run by 5 elected commissioners, that purchase all apparatus, equipment, insurance, building, fuel, utility bills, etc. and pay employees. The township, and or mayor's office has no say on any spending or hiring that takes place within the fire district!

  12. #12
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    The more transparent you are, the more people can trust you. They may not have a say in how you spend the money, but if you can show you are good stewards of what's been donated or raised, people will likely feel good about giving more.

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