Audit Reveals $6.2 Million in Additional Money for East Contra Costa Fire

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The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District has announced it has uncovered and corrected a financial mistake that resulted in under-reporting of carryover funds.

At a 3:00 pm special meeting at 3:00 pm on Monday, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s Finance Committee will receive a proposed final budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18. This budget includes an additional $6.2 million above the starting balance in the Preliminary Budget approved by the Board of Directors on June 5, 2017.

The District has made it clear that the funds are one-time money and cannot be used for staffing or re-opening of fire stations.

According to the Press Release by the District, they have identified the underreporting of the starting fund balance based on financial information contained in the recently completed external audit of the Fiscal Year 2014-15 budget. Ongoing discussions with the Contra Costa Auditor Robert Campbell and his staff further clarified the results, and the audit was accepted by the District Board of Directors on August 7, 2017.

Through further inquiry, the District has determined that the underreporting resulted from an incomplete transition of District funds and financial operations from Contra Costa County to the District, dating back to late 2014-early 2015. As a result, carry-over funding was understated in each of the following years, compounding the problem.

“This is a frustrating situation for all involved, but it would be much worse if the District had lower-than-expected funds rather than higher,” said Board of Directors President Joel Bryant. “This Board and staff of the District has done the best they can to serve our community despite being dramatically underfunded and understaffed. I wish the newly discovered funds meant we could proceed with an expanded service model beyond the three stations we have now to protect nearly 249 square miles and 115,000 residents, but access to these “found” monies is not a long-term solution for the District. I look forward to working with the Board and our constituents on a plan for how to put these one-time funds to their most worthy use in service to our community.”

Auditor Robert Campbell added, “My staff and I will continue to work with an assist the District to finalize its financial transition from the County.”

The District said it was grateful for the assistance of its auditor at Maze & Associates, Contra Costa County Auditor-Controller Robert Campbell and his staff, and the finance staff from the City of Brentwood for their help in identifying, confirming, quantifying and correcting the error.

In response to the news, Assemblyman Jim Frazier, who also previously service on the ECCFPD Board while on the Oakley City Council, released a statement saying he has put his funding bill aimed to assist the ECCFPD “on hold” saying the news raised troubling questions.

Here is Frazier’s statement.

“While East Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s discovery of an additional $6.2 million is positive news for residents, it also raises some very troubling questions.  I am pleased that my East County constituents will be better protected in the short term with unexpected new funds to improve fire service. But I ask the following: How did the District not know it had $6.2 million in surplus funds – especially when it had repeatedly asked residents to increase their taxes to pay for improved fire service?

The discovery of these funds, while it does represent a sizable percentage of the District’s yearly operating budget, does nothing to solve ECCFPD’s long-term funding problem.  All of us who call East County home have been and continue to be concerned about keeping families and property safe. As an East County resident and as your representative in the State Assembly, I authored AB 898 as one method of identifying funds to improve fire safety and emergency medical response – a solution that did not rely in any way on raising taxes. I can see that there is much more work to be done to get the District’s finances stabilized and on track.  Given this revelation, I am placing a hold at this time on moving AB 898 forward.

I will remain open to helping ECCFPD any way I am able once we know more about what this audit found, and what future mandated audits may find, in order to evaluate and reassess the district’s financial situation.”

Check back for updates.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Assemblyman Jim Frazier = Professional Grandstanding Individual. All about Jim 100% of the time.

  2. Jimmy knew he had no chance in hell of moving this bill forward. This is an easy out for him.

    As for the district. If they can’t reopen a station what are they going to do with this money? Pensions?
    Might want a better book keeper.

    • Pensions are 28 Million behind. This boat sank long ago. They are buying new vehicles and equipment by the times article I read. Does that tell you a story?

  3. Every member of the Fire Board should be ashamed of their selves. Especially the members which have been elected to City offices ( They should Not be reelected ) next time they can be voted out of any public office. This is exactly why LAFCO stated the Board should be elected when the District was formed. Then you can hold them accountable.

  4. His many times does Jim Frazier have to expose himself as a grandstanding politician?

    His plan was to steal money from a responsible district and give it to an irresponsible one. That is out and out stupidity.

    Wake up voters! Vote this guy out. BOZO the clown would do a better job and at least he wouldn’t pander ad nasuem.

  5. The poster up a few posts is correct. Frazier knew his vendetta bill had no chance of passage. He was caught once again pandering to a few of his buddies. This gave him a way out so he jumped right on it.

    Frazier is as transparent as a used car salesman and as slimy as Jim Frazier.

  6. This just proves the facts are out. They have enough money to run this department right. It is not a revenue problem as these people want you to believe. If all tax receiving agencies really cared about the community they would audit themselves and realize they have millions laying around that could be put to use to help the ECCFPD. Government rather ask for more money in the form of a tax!!! They are greedy in the worst way. They would rather make the tax paying citizen suffer then do the right thing and audit for waste and reallocate correctly. The way the tax paying citizens have too with their own budget.

    Reallocate and share the wealth. This is not anti-tax. If after auditing these agencies and reallocating there is a need for a tax for increased services. Bring it to the community. Save ECCFPD without putting the heavy lifting on the over taxed, tax payer. There will never be enough. Reallocate and spend correctly before asking for more. Simple. This article proves another part of reallocation.

  7. Sorry Rob, it doesn’t work that way. Actually not even close.
    Obviously you have no civic education or practical experience in these matters.

  8. Rob Broocker I guess you somehow missed this?

    “Although the this is an unfortunate situation, the District has taken immediate and transparent actions to address it.  While there is additional one-time funding available which will provide a firmer foundation for the District, this one-time funding does not resolve the ongoing revenue shortage which prevents the District from permanently funding a fourth station or providing an adequate number of stations to serve the population. We will continue to work diligently to improve the immediate financial practices highlighted by this situation and address the greater ongoing funding issue facing the District.

    [1] Local government agencies such as the District are required by law and/or best practice to contract with an external auditor to conduct annual financial audits”

    Stop trying to sell anti tax positioning as anything other than what it is. Stealing regional revenue violates tax laws. Guess you wouldn’t mind others helping themselves to your bank account?

    Saying it’s not anti tax and calling it sharing is a joke. No one is buying it.

  9. All public bank accounts are mine as a tax payer and I can vote to take public funds and apply them anywhere for public needs. Also, with six extra million another station can be funded for three years without touching the budget yet there is always an excuse. Let’s not oversell the inept leaders as not being at fault. Three years of another station is a long time to get more funding. The housing crunch excuse is invalid now. The extra tax revenue from higher home prices added even more unexpected money this year. It will be interesting if they do not open another stationee immediately. People are taxed out and the left is against tax reform. You can have it either way. Give more money to entitlements or your local fire district. The people have said not both three times.

    • American’s, it isn’t your bank account and you cant move tax dollars independently as you see fit. In this situation you dont get a vote. Thats the way it works in our American tax system. That much should be obvious.

      The rest of your post isn’t worthy of a reply.

      Jib Jab

  10. @Mr Brooker and Mr American

    Please keep your stupidity to yourselves. Most people on this forum don’t share your low IQ’s or your selfish beliefs. You BOTH have your tin foil skull caps ratcheted down wayyyy too tight.

  11. Jib & Reality
    Not sorry at all that the truth hurts. It shows in your response.

    The only new issue is why has someone on the inside decided to delay the people’s vote for an elected board until late 2018. Another example of distrust and why many people are fed up.

    • As I already said, “…your post isn’t worthy of a reply.”

      Thank you cut and paste feature!

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