Town of Denmark cuts funding to Copenhagen Fire Department

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 4:55 PM EST
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TOWN OF DENMARK, New York (WWNY) - The town of Denmark is cutting its funding to the Copenhagen Fire Department for 2022 after failing to get an audit from the department last fall.

Denmark contracted with Copenhagen for fire protection at a cost of $60,000 in 2021. $5,000 of that was to pay for an audit, but it didn’t happen. That resulted in the town cutting its payment for 2022, by 33 percent.

September 2021 meeting minutes from the town of Denmark say “concerns were expressed by board members that the Copenhagen Fire Department has not hired someone to conduct a financial audit of their books.”

The concerns extended to safety as well, with the minutes saying that the “Copenhagen Fire Department has not purchased turnout planned in their 2021 budget request to the Town.”

The minutes state that the Copenhagen Fire Department Vice President Terry Williams has contacted an accounting firm in Utica to discuss a possible audit of the department’s financial information. Williams also reported that turnout gear has been purchased but he didn’t know how much was spent.

The board ultimately cut the funding to the village from around $60,000 to $40,000.

The minutes state the $40,000 payment will be divided into two payments. The final $20,000 payment will occur once the fire department provides financial information. Village officials acknowledge the town didn’t get what it was promised.

Copenhagen Deputy Mayor Kim Vogt said Wednesday, “The town of Denmark, per their contract, wanted audits each year and gave the department funds for that, and it just didn’t get done.”

A state audit, released last week, declared $27,000 of the fire department’s money was unaccounted for. It didn’t conclude the money is missing. The fire department treasurer at the time currently faces charges for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from a Watertown law firm.

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