A state audit requested by the city council raises questions about the way money was handled for the fire department in the western Iowa town of Modale. State Auditor Dave Vaudt says there were nearly $25,000 in improper or undocumented expenses over a four-year period.
He says there were some $8,000 in improper spending, alot of which was for “excessive” fuel and auto supply purchases beyond the needs of the department. Vaudt says there was some $17,000 in unsupported disbursements of money, such as $4,000 in cash for which there was no explanation. There was also $3,500 spent on bands, music, ice and alcohol.
Vaudt says buying alcohol is not prohibited, but he says it has to be paid for in the proper way. He says the purchase of alcohol and ice depends on the funding source, as he says it is okay if it comes from the non-profit setup, but he says it is not appropriate to use public money for those purchases.
In one case the purchase of oil filters was checked and found they were not the type used in any fire vehicle, but would fit a vehicle registered to the fire chief. Vaudt says the department had multiple checking and other accounts, which made it hard to track funds.
Vaudt says if they finances aren’t organized, it’s hard to see where they are going and if money spent has been properly approved by the city council. Vaudt says they recommended that the department have checks and balances and maintain the appropriate records and documents. Vaudt says the report has been turned over to the county attorney to determine if any charges will be filed.
You can see the complete audit report here: Modale fire audit PDF