The auditor's office examined the fire district's records from July 1, 2006, to Aug. 31, 2009, after receiving complaints about how the revenue was being spent, and its results were released Monday in a letter dated Dec. 22 from Brian Lykins, executive director of the office of technology and special audits, to Gary Sorrell, then-chairman of the JCFD Board of Trustees.
The report found that the fire district did not comply with two regulations: that the board "shall not expend the extra revenue on facilities or services that are shared by the entire district" and that "fire districts shall maintain a separate accounting of all subdistrict funds."
The main violation in the area of revenue spending was the district's use of subdistrict funds to purchase an $809,000 ladder truck in April 2009. That truck was located at the main fire station (Station 1), according to the report, but should be maintained at the subdistrict station (Station 6) and used in the subdistrict.
Bob Traynor, president of the Windhaven Homeowners' Association, which is in the subdistrict, said the report confirmed what he and others had thought and researched for months and that rectification was necessary. He said he wants the district to "get it right."
"If we can't get accountability and representation and separate accounting, then there's no reason to have the [subdistrict]," Traynor said.
Sorrell said he was "not pleased at all" with the report and that corrections needed to be made. He and Jessamine County Fire Chief Mike Rupard said the ladder truck cited in the report has been at Station 6 for two months after an initial stay at Station 1 while firefighters were trained on it and accommodations were made at Station 6 so the truck would fit.
The district's accounting policy says the subdistrict is responsible for Engine 15, which, according to inventory, has not been located in the subdistrict since 2008. The subdistrict paid more than $1,000 in insurance on Engine 2, which it is not responsible for in the accounting policy.
Although the district created a subdistrict checking and savings bank account, the auditor found that not all expenditures were separated appropriately into these accounts.
The auditor's office recommended that the district maintain a "complete and separate" accounting of district and subdistrict funds.
"Funds should not be commingled between the district and the subdistrict accounts and subdistrict funds should not be spent on shared facilities or services," Lykins wrote.
Sorrell emphasized no criminal activity had been reported.
"Anything that was done was definitely unintentional," he said. "We weren't trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes."
The 2009 county fire tax was .050 per $100 of real estate; the additional tax for residents of the north Jessamine fire subdistrict was .048.
Terry Meckstroth, the district's magistrate who attended the July 2007 fire board meeting, said the auditor's report was accurate in highlighting the misappropriations.
"I can understand why the people of Jessamine County are upset," Meckstroth said. "Because money they pay should have stayed in a separate fund and been spent in the northern end of the county."
County Judge-Executive Neal Cassity and the Jessamine County Fiscal Court appointed Dennis Traynor in place of Sorrell Tuesday. Sorrell had served 30 years on the board, five as chairman.
Dennis Traynor lives in Crosswoods, a community in the north Jessamine fire subdistrict, and is not related to Bob Traynor.
Meckstroth said the northern end of the county had not had representation on the fire board for a long time and that Traynor's appointment was a necessary step.
"The board will be able to oversee that the funds taken from the north end of the county will be spent in the north end of the county," he said.
The board does not currently have a chairperson; it will hold an election to determine positions of members for 2010.
Rupard said he believes some information in the report was inaccurate but that the department is open to making necessary changes.
The auditor also reported discrepancies between different documentations.
The fire board is scheduled to discuss repealing the tax at a 7 p.m. meeting Monday at Southland Christian Church.