New Jersey statutes authorize municipalities to adopt an ordinance establishing a territory within the municipality as a fire district. A fire district is governed by a Board of Fire Commissioners who are elected by the legal voters within the district at an annual election on the third Saturday in February. The Board submits an annual budget to the voters for approval at this same election. A fire tax is struck and collected by the municipality. The funds are remitted to the district four times during the year.
The Board of Fire Commissioners is responsible for fire prevention and suppression within its territory. Most fire districts contract with the local volunteer fire companies for the use of their building and personnel in the providing of fire services.
The activities of the Board of Fire Commissioners are monitored by the Department of Community Affairs, the Division of Local Government Services, and the State Office of the Comptroller. Fire districts obtain their authority through Title 40A and administrative regulations as promulgated by the New Jersey Legislature. In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, in accordance with recently enacted legislation, Boards of Fire Commissioners must establish a web site accessible to the general public. On this web site they must have available minutes of meetings from January 1, 2009 forward, audited financial statements and budgets back to 2009. These web sites also include meeting dates, meeting agendas, special meeting dates, and other current information about the Board and their activities. Oliver S. Walling III, CPA has worked with fire districts for over 36 years and is special consultant for the firm. He can be contacted through our web site for information on our web services or other fire services we offer.
Current auditing regulations prohibit auditors from performing accounting services to their audit clients. Accounting services include data entry into any books of original entry and any decision making. The auditor is not permitted to prepare the Management's Discussion and Analysis. The auditor may type the Board approved budget, but is not permitted to make budgetary decisions. The client is required to have someone with sufficient knowledge to understand accounting and auditing issues. Koerner and Koerner does not audit fire districts. We are the accounting liaison between the Board of Fire Commissioners and their auditor. We perform the accounting functions that the auditor is not permitted to do. If you would like to comply with your statutory obligations please contact Koerner and Koerner and we will meet with your Board, at no cost, and discuss the regulations and how we can help you become compliant.