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Firefighters Relief Fund - General Statutes

Firefighter Relief Fund

Article 84. Fund Derived from Insurance Companies.

§ 58-84-1. Repealed by Session Laws 2006-196, s. 6, effective January 1, 2008, and applicable to proceeds credited to the Department of Insurance on or after that date.

§ 58-84-5. The following definitions apply in Articles 84 through 88 of this Chapter:

  1. City. – A fire district.
  2. Clerk. – The clerk of a fire district or, if there is no clerk, the person so designated by the governing body of the fire district.
  3. Fire district. – Any political subdivision of the State that meets all of the following conditions:
    1. It has an organized fire department under the control of its governing body.
    2. Its fire department has apparatus and equipment that is in serviceable condition for fire duty and is valued at one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more.
    3. It enforces the fire laws to the satisfaction of the Commissioner.
  4. Town. – A fire district.
§§ 58-84-10 through 58-84-20: Repealed by Session Laws 1995 (Regular Session, 1996), c. 747, s. 6.

§ 58-84-25. Disbursement of funds by Insurance Commissioner.

  1. Distribution. – The Insurance Commissioner shall deduct the sum of three percent (3%) from the tax proceeds credited to the Department pursuant to G.S. 105 228.5(d)(3) and pay the same over to the treasurer of the State Firemen's Association for general purposes. The Insurance Commissioner shall deduct the sum of two percent (2%) from the tax proceeds and retain the same in the budget of the Department of Insurance for the purpose of administering the disbursement of funds by the board of trustees in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 58 84 35. The Insurance Commissioner shall, pursuant to G.S. 58 84 50, credit the amount forfeited by nonmember fire districts to the North Carolina State Firemen's Association. The Insurance Commissioner shall distribute the remaining tax proceeds to the treasurer of each fire district as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section.
  2. Allocation to Counties. – The Insurance Commissioner shall allocate to each county an amount of tax proceeds based upon the amount allocated to it in the previous year. If the amount allocable in the current year is less than the amount allocated in the previous year, then the Commissioner shall reduce the amount allocated to each county. The amount of the reduction is equal to the difference in the amount allocated in the previous year and the amount allocable in the current year multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the population of the county and the denominator of which is the population of the State. If the amount allocable in the current year is greater than the amount allocated in the previous year, then the Commissioner shall increase the amount allocated to each county. The amount of the increase is equal to the excess proceeds multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the population of the county and the denominator of which is the population of the State.
  3. Distribution to Fire Districts. – Once the Insurance Commissioner has allocated the tax proceeds to a county under subsection (b) of this section, the Commissioner shall distribute those allocations to the fire districts in that county. The amount distributed to each fire district is equal to the total amount allocated to the county multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which is the tax value of the property located in the fire district and the denominator of which is the tax value of all property located in any fire district in that county. A county shall provide the Commissioner with the tax value of property located in each fire district in that county by January 1 of each year. If a county does not submit information that the Commissioner needs to make a distribution by the date the information is due, the Commissioner shall distribute the allocation based on the most recent information the Commissioner has.
  4. Administration. – These funds shall be held by the treasurer of a fire district as a separate and distinct fund. The fire district shall immediately pay the funds to the treasurer of the local board of trustees upon the treasurer's election and qualification, for the use of the board of trustees of the firemen's local relief fund in each fire district, which board shall be composed of five members, residents of the fire district as hereinafter provided for, to be used by it for the purposes provided in G.S. 58 84 35.

§ 58-84-30. Trustees appointed; organization. For each county, town or city complying with and deriving benefits from the provisions of this Article, there shall be appointed a local board of trustees, known as the trustees of the Firefighters' Relief Fund, to be composed of five members, two of whom shall be elected by the members of the local fire department or departments who are qualified as beneficiaries of such fund, two of whom shall be elected by the mayor and board of aldermen or other local governing body, and one of whom shall be named by the Commissioner of Insurance. Their selection and term of office shall be as follows:

(1) The members of the fire department shall hold an election each January to elect their representatives to above board. In January 1950, the firefighters shall elect one member to serve for two years and one member to serve for one year, then each year in January thereafter, they shall elect only one member and his term of office shall be for two years. Members elected pursuant to this section shall be either (i) residents of the fire district or (ii) active or retired members of the fire department.

(2) The mayor and board of aldermen or other local governing body shall appoint, in January 1950, two representatives to above board, one to hold office for two years and one to hold office for one year, and each year in January thereafter they shall appoint only one representative and his term of office shall be for two years. Members appointed pursuant to this section shall be residents of the fire district.

(3) The Commissioner of Insurance shall appoint one representative to serve as trustee and he shall serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner. The member appointed pursuant to this section shall be either (i) a resident of the fire district or (ii) an active or retired member of the fire department.

All of the above trustees shall hold office for their elected or appointed time, or until their successors are elected or appointed, and shall serve without pay for their services. They shall immediately after election and appointment organize by electing from their members a chairman and a secretary and treasurer, which two last positions may be held by the same person. The treasurer of said board of trustees shall give a good and sufficient surety bond in a sum equal to the amount of moneys in his hand, to be approved by the Commissioner of Insurance. The cost of this bond may be deducted by the Insurance Commissioner from the receipts collected pursuant to G.S. 58-84-10 before distribution is made to local relief funds. If the chief or chiefs of the local fire departments are not named on the board of trustees as above provided, then they shall serve as ex officio members without privilege of voting on matters before the board."

§ 58-84-35. Disbursement of funds by trustees. The board of trustees shall have entire control of the funds derived from the provisions of this Article, and shall disburse the funds only for the following purposes: (1) To safeguard any fireman in active service from financial loss, occasioned by sickness contracted or injury received while in the performance of his duties as a fireman. (2) To provide a reasonable support for those actually dependent upon the services of any fireman who may lose his life in the fire service of his town, city, or State, either by accident or from disease contracted or injury received by reason of such service. The amount is to be determined according to the earning capacity of the deceased. (2a) To provide assistance, upon approval by the Secretary of the State Firemen's Association, to a destitute member fireman who has served honorably for at least five years. (3) Repealed by Session Laws 1985, c. 666, s. 61. (4) To provide for the payment of any fireman's assessment in the Firemen's Fraternal Insurance Fund of the State of North Carolina if the board of trustees finds as a fact that said fireman is unable to pay the said assessment by reason of disability. (5) To provide for benefits of supplemental retirement, workers compensation, and other insurance and pension protection for firemen otherwise qualifying for benefits from the Firefighter's Relief Fund as set forth in Article 85 of this Chapter. (6) To provide for educational benefits to firemen and their dependents who otherwise qualify for benefits from the Firefighter's Relief Fund as set forth in Article 85 of this Chapter. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no expenditures shall be made pursuant to subsections (5) and (6) of this section unless the State Firemen's Association has certified that such expenditures will not render the Fund actuarially unsound for the purposes of providing the benefits set forth in subsections (1), (2), and (4) of this section. If, for any reason, funds made available for subsections (5) and (6) of this section shall be insufficient to pay in full any benefits, the benefits pursuant to subsections (5) and (6) shall be reduced pro rata for as long as the amount of insufficient funds exists. No claim shall accrue with respect to any amount by which a benefit under subsections (5) and (6) shall have been reduced. (1907, c. 831, s. 6; 1919, c. 180; C.S., s. 6069; Ex. Sess. 1921, c. 55; 1923, c. 22; 1925, c. 41; 1945, c. 74, s. 2; 1985, c. 666, s. 61; 1987, c. 174, ss. 2, 3; 1997-456, s. 27.)

§ 58-84-40. Trustees to keep account and file certified reports. (a)Each local board of trustees shall keep a correct account of all moneys received and disbursed by them. On a form prescribed by the North Carolina State Firemen's Association, each local board shall certify by October 31 of each year the following to the Association: the balance of the local fund, proof of sufficient bonding, a full accounting of the previous year's expenditures, and a full accounting of membership qualifications. Such certification shall be made concurrently with the local unit's statement of Fire Readiness. (b) In turn, the State Firemen's Association shall certify to the Department of Insurance by January 1 of each year on a form prescribed by the Department, the local units which have complied with the requirements of subsection (a) of this section. (c) In the event that any board of trustees in any of the towns and cities benefited by this Article shall neglect or fail to perform their duties, or shall willfully misappropriate the funds entrusted in their care by obligating or disbursing such funds for any purpose other than those set forth in G.S. 58-84- 35, then the Insurance Commissioner shall withhold any and all further payments to such board of trustees, or their successors, until the matter has been fully investigated by an official of the State Firemen's Association, and adjusted to the satisfaction of the Insurance Commissioner. (d) In the event that any local relief fund provided for in this Article becomes impaired, then the Firefighter's Relief Fund may in the discretion of its board of trustees assist the local unit administering the fund in providing for relief to injured firemen and their dependents or survivors; provided, however, that any funds so provided to such impaired units shall be repaid in full at the statutory rate of interest from future local unit receipts if the impairment resulted from violations of this Article. (1907, c. 831, s. 7; C.S., s. 6070; 1925, c. 41; 1985, c. 666, s. 63.)

§ 58-84-45: Repealed by Session Laws 2000-67, s. 26.21(a).

"§ 58-84-46. Certification to Commissioner.On or before October 31 of each year the clerk or finance officer of each city or county that has a local board of trustees under G.S. 58-84-30 shall file a certificate of eligibility with the Commissioner. The certificate shall contain information prescribed by administrative rule adopted by the Commissioner. If the certificate is not filed with the Commissioner on or before January 31 in the ensuing year:

  1. The city or county that failed to file the certificate shall forfeit the payment next due to be paid to its board of trustees.
  2. The Commissioner shall pay over that amount to the treasurer of the North Carolina State Firemen's Association.
  3. That amount shall constitute a part of the Firefighter's Relief Fund.

§ 58-84-50. Fire departments to be members of State Firemen's Association. For the purpose of supervision and as a guaranty that provisions of this Article shall be honestly administered in a businesslike manner, it is provided that every department enjoying the benefits of this law shall be a member of the North Carolina State Firemen's Association and comply with its constitution and bylaws. If the fire department of any city, town or village shall fail to comply with the constitution and bylaws of said Association, said city, town or village shall forfeit its right to the next annual payment due from the funds mentioned in this Article, and the Commissioner of Insurance shall pay over said amount to the treasurer of the North Carolina State Firemen's Association and same shall constitute a part of the Firefighter's relief fund. (1907, c. 831, s. 9; 1919, c. 180; C.S., s. 6072; 1925, c. 41; c. 309, s. 2; 1965, c. 624.)

§ 58-84-55. No discrimination on account of race. The local boards of trustees of the Firefighter's Relief Fund shall make no discrimination based upon race in the payment of benefits. (1907, c. 831, s. 10; C.S., s. 6073; 1985, c. 666, s. 62.)

§ 58-84-60. Immunity. A person serving on a local board of trustees of the Firemen's Firefighters' Relief Fund shall be immune individually from civil liability for monetary damages, except to the extent covered by insurance, for any act or failure to act arising out of this service, except where the person:

  1. Was not acting within the scope of that person's official duties;
  2. Was not acting in good faith;
  3. Committed gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct that resulted in the damages or injury;
  4. Derived an improper personal financial benefit, either directly or indirectly, from the transaction; or
  5. Incurred the liability from the operation of a motor vehicle."