Mosiman is more optimistic about upcoming examination and future audit
After not hearing anything lately about the audit, I decided yesterday morning to contact Iowa State Auditor Mary Mosiman, about any new information about the progress of the audit. Following is my email to Mary Mosiman and her response.
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The Riverside Current reported this week that the Franchise Fee with MidAmerican Energy passed 5-0 at the June 2 council meeting. In fact, that motion was defeated 2-3 (Schneider and Schoebelen voting in favor, Sexton, Kirkwood and Kasdorf voting no). There will be NO increase in MidAmerican bills to customers due to a franchise fee in Riverside.
The purpose of this letter is to address the “concerns” of the appalled Riverside citizen.
The Riverside fire department and First responders became Riverside Emergency Services Association at the beginning of 2015. This was done to combine both organizations into a nonprofit 501-C3 organization. This is done so that money donated or raised through fundraisers can be kept separate from tax dollars. This information was made available at our pancake breakfast this year in March. We are currently working with the council on how to handle money that was raised and donated prior to this. The fire department finances were recently reviewed and audited as part of the city audit. There have been no further requests or actions from the audit. To address your concerns on a ladder truck and if it’s needed, I suggest you read the article on the blog titled ‘When Should You Purchase a Ladder Truck’. The department recently had its insurance rating reviewed and was able to get the number lowered, but one of the areas for need and improvement was a ladder truck. The ISO number for the fire district was lowered from a 8/9 to a 5/8b. The first number is for areas covered in the city limits and the 2nd numbers represents the rural area.
We currently have two-thirds of the money available for the truck and will receive some discounts for early payments. The balance of the funds can be borrowed and then paid for with the yearly tax dollars received for fire protection trucks and equipment. This is the way we have funded other fire apparatus in the past. As Council Member Bob Schneider said at the June 2nd meeting in regards to the ladder truck: if it saves one, life it’s worth it. That life could be a citizen, visitor to the community or a firefighter.
The benefits of the truck where stated at the June 2nd meeting and at several other meetings throughout this process. I’m not going to get into all the benefits, but your next closest one is 30 minutes away and that’s if it’s available. There are numerous two-story and taller buildings in the Riverside community and additional ones that could be built with city growth.
So if there’re others that are appalled, concerned or any other anonymous doubters feel free to contact me and I will be happy to meet and go over anything in person and give you a tour of the station and equipment. That way I can save all this writing.
Council Person Submission
In the interest of informing the community and the anonymous writer who felt that an audit of the Fire Department is needed.
The Fire Department finances were included in the 2012-2013 Financial Audit of the City of Riverside that is presently in its final stages. I attended the Audit visit on April 22, 2015 as an observer for the entire day and I can verify that the Fire Department books were examined and audited that day. The auditors had a couple of minor questions that Dan Striegal was present to answer and explain and he left the books for the nonprofit funds that day as well. In following up with the auditors a few days later, I asked them if they had received everything they needed and asked for and they assured me that they had (by email). If anyone would like to discuss this with me further, please feel free to call 648-2959.
It is the right of every citizen to ask questions and expect answers and I’m glad to see that people are involved. I think I should also mention, however, that the auditor’s will be charging us significantly more than their original estimate for the cost of this audit. It might be wise to see what the results from their report states before we contract for yet another one. The auditors had directed us to ask for an extension on this audit to June 30, 2015, so I am hopeful we will hear something by the end of this month.
Riverside City Councilwoman