FORT ANN — Special referendums are scheduled for Dec. 17 to increase financial contributions made to some volunteer firefighters in the Pilot Knob Fire District and the West Fort Ann Fire District.
Town Supervisor Richard Moore said financial adjustments are proposed for the Length of Service Award Program.
Similar to getting a pension, the program gives an annual contribution of $480 to those volunteer firefighters who accrue a certain number of points by participating in different fire district activities.
In November, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that increases community contributions to $1,200 per firefighter for that program.
Two of three fire districts in Fort Ann are looking to get to that full increase, but on an incremental basis, Moore said.
“It’s the hope that this will help with recruiting new members to the fire companies and for the retention of existing members of the fire company,” Moore said. “Personally, I believe that these individuals who volunteer their time for our safety and all the community members’ safety deserve this benefit, and earn it by their dedication by being a member of each of the fire companies.”
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The proposed financial contribution plan would increase residents’ tax bills in those fire districts, but Moore said it would not be by much.
The incremental plan for both fire districts includes increasing the payment contributions by the following:
- From $480 to $800 per eligible firefighter beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, with the payment made in 2021;
- From $800 to $1,000 per eligible firefighter beginning on Jan. 1, 2021, with the payment made in 2022;
- From $1,000 to $1,200 per eligible firefighter beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, with the payment made in 2023.
Should residents pass this program cost increase, residents will not see the tax increase until 2020 for payments that will be made in 2021.
In Pilot Knob’s district, the total cost of the program would increase to $11,200 in 2020, $14,000 in 2021 and $16,800 in 2022, according to a special notice of the vote.
In West Fort Ann’s district, the total cost of the program would increase to $13,600 in 2020, $17,000 in 2021 and $20,400 in 2022, also according to a special notice.
Residents in those fire districts, which Moore said includes District 3 residents only, may vote on the changes between noon and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the West Fort Ann Volunteer Fire Company, 49 Joe Green Road, Fort Ann.