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Audit finds volunteer fire dept. mishandled money

The audit uncovered $5.2 million in undesignated surplus

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. New York state auditors looking into a volunteer fire district's finances have uncovered a $5.2 million undesignated surplus. The audit also says the Brentwood Fire District's board consistently overestimated its expenses and underestimated its revenue.

"We've taken a lot of their recommendations seriously, and we're continually working on their recommendations as of today," Michael Poveromo, chairman of the board of fire commissioners told Newsday. "It's all what's perceived by the taxpayer. We want them to have a good feeling about us, so we want to do the right thing."

The audit, conducted by the New York comptroller's office, ran from 2007 through 2011. The audit also charges that the district exceeded its 2 percent tax cap by raising taxes 12 percent — despite sitting on the surplus.

Poveromo told the paper that the money was set aside for firehouse renovations and that the district has since built a capital improvement plan that earmarks the surplus money for that purpose.

Several who commented on the paper's website, likened the surplus revelation to corruption and demanded that the money be returned to taxpayers.

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