LI Tax Funds Questioned for Volunteer...

LI Tax Funds Questioned for Volunteer Fire Districts

Posted in the Massapequa Forum

Chief Charlie

Bellmore, NY

#2 Nov 4, 2011
NBC New York showed videos of drill team racing to Dr. Harry Carter, a consultant for volunteer fire companies, who used to be the chief of training for the Newark Fire Department in New Jersey. Carter said the high-speed contests bear little resemblance to actual firefighting scenarios.
“I would think that your chances of being hurt hanging off the back of a drag racer are a lot greater than on a regular fire truck,” Carter said.
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NBC New York asked the Elmont fire commissioners to itemize how much the fire district spends on drill team racing. The commissioners insisted there is no set budget for the tradition, but in an email, a spokesperson for the fire district said fuel and maintenance costs eat up between 2 and 4 percent of the district’s total vehicle maintenance budget of $255,000.
The vehicles themselves, which can cost more than $10,000 each, were also paid for by fire taxes.
Continued

Bellmore, NY

#3 Nov 4, 2011
The vehicles themselves, which can cost more than $10,000 each, were also paid for by fire taxes.
Of the district’s 33 vehicle fleet, three are used exclusively for drill team racing.
“These are very poor times economically for fire departments across the nation and if this, in fact, is more of a hobby than a firefighting exercise, well, they should be looking for other ways to raise the money than taking it from the taxpayers,” Carter said.
NBC New York has also learned the Elmont Fire District has agreed to pay workers compensation for the firefighter who was injured during drill team practice in August.
“Workers compensation is paying for it at this time," said Elmont Fire Commissioner Andrew Bohnet. "If the state comes around and says,'You can’t do this anymore,' then we’ll stop it."
In 2012, taxpayers in the Elmont Fire District are set to pay workers compensation premiums that are 9 percent higher than in 2011. The fire commissioners insist the higher costs have nothing to do with drill team racing.
Guidelines published by the New York State Workers Compensation Board are unclear as to whether drill team racing injuries should be considered “in the line of duty” injuries. The rules say injuries suffered while participating in “authorized drills,”“parades” and “funerals” qualify for public benefits.

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