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REFERENDUM ON CONSOLIDATION WILL PROVIDE TAXPAYERS WITH BEST CHANCE TO SAVE $
Release Date: May 03, 2014

A number of people have contacted me offering to help circulate petitions calling for the consolidation of the Fairview/Hartsdale fire districts. If 10% of the voters in both Fairview & Hartsdale sign petitions a referendum must be held. In recent weeks I have been discussing the wording of a draft petition with some  residents of Fairview & Hartsdale.  The petition should be finalized shortly.

 

Many people are upset that the Chair of the Fairview Board of Fire Commission participated in the selection process  on Thursday that led to her son being promoted to Deputy Chief. Her son may be qualified but it is unfair to other contenders for the mother of a candidate for an important position to cast a vote to promote her son to Deputy Chief.  She should have recused herself from the process. I received an e mail from a civic association leader reminding residents that the Chair of the Fairview Board of Fire Commissioners said at a Fairview Board meeting last month and on News 12 that her "son was not a candidate."

 

TIME TO ACT--NOT STUDY!  47 MILLION SAVINGS IF 10 DISTRICTS CONSOLIDATED

  In 2009 10 Fire departments (including Fairview, Greenville, Hartsdale) commissioned a study on consolidation of the fire departments. The study concluded that millions of dollars could be saved. Taxpayers who reside in communities that have paid fire districts pay almost the same dollar amount as the entire town tax bill.

 

   It's been almost five years since the study was released. What has happened in those five years? NOTHING.  The report gathered dust.  Since the Fire districts are not prepared to pursue consolidation, the voters should decide if they want to pursue consolidation. My recommendation: start small. Let's prove  that a small consolidation can work and save taxpayer dollars (and provide residents with maximum fire protection).

 

  Read the following link from Firefighternation--a publication for firefighters. (July 2,2009)

    http://my.firefighternation.com/forum/topics/study-ny-county-merger-could?commentId=889755%3AComment%3A4155576

 

WHITE PLAINS, NY, June 29, 2009 – The Edwin G. Michaelian Institute for Public Policy and Management will make a public presentation of a report, “Fire Services of Southern Westchester County: A Case for Consolidation” on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 from 3pm-5pm at the Pace Graduate Center auditorium, Room 206, One Martine Ave, White Plains, NY.

The event is open to the public. Media admission by press pass.

The 219 page study, commissioned by the Westchester County Career Fire Chiefs Association, evaluates the feasibility of consolidating 10 fire departments serving a population of 250,000 people in a 50 square mile area of Westchester County. The departments are those of Eastchester, Fairview, Greenville, Hartsdale, Larchmont, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor, and Scarsdale.

“The timeliness of this study cannot be overstated,” said Michael A. Genito, Director of the Michaelian Institute, “given the state of the economy, the need to improve service delivery, and especially the recent consolidation legislation adopted by the State of New York.”

In addition to more effective and efficient operations, consolidation can result in cost savings through the elimination of duplicate staffing, equipment and facilities. Lower Insurance Services Office (ISO) ratings could result in additional savings totaling an estimated $47 million on homeowner and business insurance premiums.

“This study can serve as the basis for a more comprehensive and granular study that would involve an in-depth evaluation of labor agreements, equipment and facility inventory, operational costs, managerial, legal and other issues that a consolidated district would need to address,” said Genito. “New York State has a keen interest in what we are doing and may be willing to fund a more detailed study entirely with State grants.”

 

PAUL FEINER

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