In his October 2004 summary, Kroboth said Western Enterprise received a total of $80,731.39 in public funds in 2004. This included a $20,000 basic subsidy from the county government, a $6,764.50 county reimbursement for utility bills the fire company paid, and $47,202.39 from the county Gaming Fund, as distributed by the county Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.
The 2004 summary said that recently, the city fire department had asked Western Enterprise "to purchase fire-fighting equipment and to make a financial contribution toward the annual awards banquet for fire-fighting personnel.
"The Fire Company has indicated they do not agree that the equipment requested is needed," Kroboth wrote. "In the past, the Hagerstown Fire Department convinced the Fire Company to contribute toward the purchase of equipment that was (what Western Enterprise called) a'waste of money', such as thermal imaging cameras, etc.
"The Fire Company has advised that they will not contribute to the awards banquet since only <sic> they only have two active volunteers that would be recognized."
In this month's interview, Kroboth recalled that in his 2004 meetings with Western Enterprise officials "initially, they could not provide enough evidence" that at least the $80,731.39 in public funding had been spent to help firefighting efforts.
Kroboth said that at the follow-up meeting early in 2005, he learned that the company had made an additional effort in that area.
"They went out and made some procurements — new breathing apparatus to put on the fire engines — and that took them over that amount of" public funding that the company had received, Kroboth said. "That satisfied the requirement that I was seeking."
Had the fire company not been able to do that, Kroboth said in this month's interview, the county would have suspended its basic subsidies as well at its utility reimbursements to the company.
And, he said, the county would have sent a letter to the county Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, asking it not to send Western Enterprise any more of the county Gaming Fund money until the county's spending standard was met.
Determining whether Western Enterprise is meeting the same standard today, is difficult.
But its mission is still the same, according to the company's 2010 financial report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
In that report's Statement of Program Service Accomplishments, the fire company wrote, "The organization provides fire service and protection to the citizens in the Hagerstown, Maryland area and education in fire prevention."
During 2010, the IRS report shows, Western Enterprise received a total of $81,087 in public funding. In all, it received $149,830 that year and spent $116,678, its IRS report shows.
The report's standard line items are where the company has listed most of its expenses. The fire company has written in its own description of the other expenses.
But neither tells a lot, so it's hard to judge how many of the expenses helped with firefighting, fire protection and education in fire prevention.
Here is the report's list of all $116,678 in expenses: $4,397 firefighting supplies; $196 "meals - fire"; $17,893 in salaries and taxes; $855 legal; $3,020 accounting; $5,988 office expenses; $7,529 travel; $5,020 conferences, conventions and meetings; $18,978 depreciation, depletion, and amortization; $883 insurance; $3,931 miscellaneous expenses; $1,603 dues and association fees; $404 bank charges; $45,712 occupancy; and $269 "all other expenses."
Normally, additional insight into the expenses can be gained from looking at a different financial report. It's one that each local fire and rescue company is required to send to the county.
But Western Enterprise's is unreliable because, Schaffer has told the newspaper, he bases it on incomplete records. He said he does that because the county's report deadline is only three months after the end of a budget year.
So four additional spending details on his report to the county for 2010 may be accurate or maybe not.
They are that during the year, Western Enterprise spent: $15,660.15 on building maintenance; $300 on fund/membership drive; $7,017.74 for a capital expense on its building; and $6,000 for a capital expense on a vehicle.