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Aug 22

Written by: - Oliver Walling
8/22/2014 10:39 AM  RssIcon

The middle of August already.  It seems to be true that the older you get the quicker time passes.  And, as we get older we want it to slow down because we know what's there at the end!


I was talking with Rich Braslow, my legal counterpart of 30+ years, and we were saying how quiet things are.  The Legislature is up to its usual "how do we control fire districts" discussions.  It seems that soon we will have legislation similar to school boards where we have the option of switching to the November election and avoid the public vote on the budget.  Of course the big question here is, how will they handle multi-districts where district boundaries do not coincide with voter districts.  Another excuse to force consolidation?


Another audit concern is Local Finance Notice 2014-9, Secondary Bond Market Continuing Disclosure Commitments.  If you currently have any bonds issued you need to read LFN 2014-9.  Technically, the requirement is not new.  What's new is the enforcement.  Review your Official Statement and determine whether or not there are required annual filings and if so, are you in compliance?  Consult with your accountant or auditor now so you can be in compliance before the 2014 audit commences.  I discussed this with one auditor and he assured me that if we are not compliant by December 31, we will be written up.  Additionally,  the Division is considering adding a certification of compliance as part of the budget package like they did with the web site compliance.


Speaking of web sites, we are in the process of updating the addresses in www.NJFireDistricts.org and I am impressed by the number of fire districts that have a web site.  Unfortunately, a majority are still noncompliant regarding the information and documents posted online.  The auditors need to step up and disclose this statutory noncompliance.  It's unfair to the Boards who are doing their utmost to operate with full transparency that these other Boards are allowed to perjure themselves and certify on their budgets that they are fully compliant.

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