Town of­fi­cials put fire de­part­ments on no­tice

The town send­ing let­ters to fire de­part­ments to work to­ward con­tracts that charge the same amounts.

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

RHINEBECK, N.Y. » Town Board mem­bers are send­ing let­ters to the three fire de­part­ments that pro­vide cov­er­age in the town to work to­ward con­tracts that charge the same amounts to prop­erty own­ers in­side and out­side of tax­ing dis­tricts.

The re­quest was dis­cussed dur­ing a Town Board meet­ing Mon­day, with Coun­cil­man Alan Scherr say­ing the de­part­ments should not charge more for cov­er­age in “pro­tec­tion” dis­tricts.

“These let­ters are in­form­ing the fire de­part­ments that what we’re go­ing to do is pay ... a por­tion of their bud­get equiv­a­lent to the ra­tio of the as­sessed value they are cov­er­ing for us ver­sus the to­tal of all the as­sessed value that they are cov­er­ing with their bud­get,” he said.

Fire depart­ment bud­gets are es­tab­lished with a levy charged to prop­er­ties within a tax district. Cov­er­age pro­vided out­side of the tax district is ar­ranged through a con­tract with the town and those prop­er­ties pay for the agree­ment through the mu­nic­i­pal tax levy.

Su­per­vi­sor El­iz­a­beth Spinzia said the pro­tec­tion district prop­er­ties need to be charged the same tax rate as prop­er­ties in the tax dis­tricts.

“We’re look­ing for par­ity,” she said.

In the let­ters, Spinzia stated the town will take that ap­proach to con­tracts be­gin­ning with the next bud­gets.

“We in­tend to use this ap­proach in fu­ture years and will up­date the per­cent­age if and when as­sessed val­ues change,” she wrote. “Also, the bud­get that the town funds would be in­creased or de­creased by any fire depart­ment bud­get over­ex­pen­di­ture or un­der­ex­pen­di­ture.”

There are three de­part­ments cov­er­ing fire pro­tec­tion dis­tricts in the town:

• Rhinebeck Fire Depart­ment, which is paid $190,000 to cover 1,276 prop­er­ties in the town and has 1,245 prop­er­ties within its own district. The tax rate per $1,000 as­sessed value was 33 cents for district res­i­dents and 37 cents for con­tract cov­er­age.

• Rhinecliff Fire Depart­ment,

which is paid $62,000 to cover 75 prop­er­ties out­side its district and has 599 prop­er­ties within its district. The rate per $1,000 as­sessed value was 36 cents for district prop­er­ties and $1.07 for con­tract cov­er­age.

• Hill­side Fire Depart­ment, which is paid $32,000 to cover 172 prop­er­ties out­side its district and has 448 prop­er­ties within its district. The rate per $1,000 as­sessed value was 46 cents for district prop­er­ties and 62 cents for con­tract cov­er­age.

“I be­lieve we’re go­ing to be able to suc­cess­fully reach a value that’s agreed to by both par­ties,” Rhinebeck vil­lage Mayor Gary Bassett said. “I’m very en­cour­aged by the co­op­er­a­tion I’m get­ting from the town with our fire depart­ment and we’re work­ing closely to­gether.”

Of­fi­cials for the Rhinecliff and Hill­side fire de­part­ments were not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.

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