The District has corrected financial mistakes
At a special meeting on Monday, August 28, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s Finance Committee received a proposed final budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18 that includes an additional $6.2 million from the budget approved by the board on June 5.
The District 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 Contra Costa County 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 President and Brentwood Councilman Joel Bryant. “The Board and staff of the District have 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 and assist the District to finalize its financial transition from the County.”
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is 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.