Arlington Fire District criticized for firehouse renovation process

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Arlington Engine 32-15 from Station 5.

ARLINGTON – Members of the Board of the Arlington Fire District did not use competitive methods to renovate leased firehouse space and did not adequately oversee leasehold agreements for renovations, according to an audit by the State Comptroller’s Office.

The review found that district officials approved a lease agreement, which included the district providing $248,000 in additional rent to fund renovations for the leased premises, without using a competitive procurement process.

It also found that they approved one lease amendment that cost an additional $77,000 in materials costs without adequate documentation and approved two lease amendments extending project completion date that cost taxpayers over $20,000 by not exercising reduced rent rate provisions.

In addition, a member of the board who also serves as a trustee of the Croft Corners Fire Company, failed to disclose their financial interest in the lease agreement and lease amendments between the district and the company, which serves as landlord.

Key recommendations include that the district comply with State General Municipal Law competitive bidding requirements; oversee leasehold agreements for renovations and ensure that payments made by the district are supported; and ensure that members of the board disclose interests in public contract.

Except as specified in Appendix A, officials agreed with auditors’ recommendations.