Township to receive bids for fire dept audit

ALPENA — The Alpena Township Board of Trustees approved on Wednesday receiving bids to have a possible audit completed on the fire department after the fire committee recommended bids be compiled.

“We’re just recommending that we get an audit done of the fire department,” Trustee Nathan Thomson, who is chair of the fire committee, said. “Essentially, we’re hoping that we could get some bids for the meeting so that possibly we could get it done before Monday’s board meeting and we could see where we’re headed.”

Thomson said Straley, Lamp & Kraenzlein offers a quote for free.

“All we’re looking for is how much it’s going to cost to audit the fire department,” he said.

Treasurer Laura Ellery-Somers questioned what the purpose of the audit was and why an audit needs to be done for the fire department when the township already had a paid audit completed.

“Essentially, we’re trying to figure out exactly where the money coming in is going and we get to a the point where moving forward that money can be distinguished towards the fire department instead of where it’s at now,” Thomson said. “There’s a real gray area as of where that money is in relativity to the fire department.”

Thomson said when money is coming in through the transport business, the money isn’t being distinguished solely to the fire department.

“In an essence, we’re just looking to get that stabilized so that moving forward, we have it in writing and it’s concrete,” Thomson said.

Township Clerk Karie Bleau questioned how the fire committee will pay for an audit because there isn’t a line item in the fire department’s budget for it.

“Are we going to create a line item to fund it?” Bleau said.

Thomson said the recommendation from the fire committee is to simply get bids to see how much it would cost going forward.

“Once we find a concrete number of how much it would cost, we could then venture into where the money would come from as an exploratory committee,” he said.

After more discussion, it was finalized that the fire committee wants to secure bids for a potential audit of the entire fire department, with the intent of the audit being focus on income and expenditures.

The board voted on the recommendation, 5-2, with Ellery-Somers and Bleau voting against the recommendation.

“I’ve offered to share the financial information relative to every department in detail to help alleviate the costs of this, and I understand the point of this,” Bleau said. “An audit does not tell you what you want to know. An audit only does a sampling of the information that is provided. I feel like this is going to be really expensive.”

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.