Expansion of the Fire Protection District into the Village of Whitehall

Whitehall Fire is the fastest growing fire company in the county. It has nearly tripled in size since 2005. The cost to outfit an interior firefighter for personal protective equipment (PPE), annual physical and a pager is roughly $3,000 per person. Since 9/11, the fire service has changed greatly, equipment mandates such as PPE with 10 year life, radio systems. Without a board to oversee the growth and plan for expenditures, the fire company may become insolvent.

The village has been approached in the past about increasing funding for the fire company. Last year’s $4,000 increase was the first in nearly fifteen years. Town taxpayers have provided the lion’s share of the company’s operation budget, while village taxpayers have had a minimal contribution by comparison.

An expansion of the fire protection district would eliminate the fire department line item in the village budget; and in the town budget, include the village in the special district.

An expansion of the fire protection district will allow a town wide fire tax on each parcel and will insure a fair burden for all taxpayers, while providing a guaranteed revenue stream to the fire company in order to continue providing the best in fire protection, fire prevention and rescue services.

Budget:

It currently costs approximately $210,000 per year to maintain the fire company. Local government provides $160,000, plus an average of $20,000 from fundraising – leaving the fire company losing approximately $30,000 per year. The fire company maintains three bank accounts: Fire Operations checking, Capital Reserve savings, and Member Benefit checking (all NY State Foreign Fire Tax money is deposited here).

Whitehall needs a local live fire training center for the new curriculum. Firefighters currently have to travel to Ballston Spa for live fire training, 1.5 hours away.

Expanding responsibilities such as a training center for local firefighters, new state mandates, and a replacement program for apparatus and equipment will strain the current finances.

An initial budget of $250,000 will insure that the immediate needs of the fire company are being met, that infrastructure of the both stations and the training center will be competed without future burden on the taxpayers in the upcoming years.

Grants:

Our history with grants is well known. No other fire company in Washington county has received more grant money than Whitehall Fire. We have just received a $24,000 grant for 10 sets of PPE from the 2014 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). Countless hours have gone into writing this grant, and countless more will go into administering it. We are in the process of preparing another grant for the Martell Training Center.

Fundraisers:

Fundraising is extremely time-consuming, and takes away valuable time firefighters need for training.  We generally conduct three coin drops throughout the year and a letter campaign in April. We did not have enough members willing to conduct the June coin drop. The bridge has impacted revenue in 2014. In 2013, members raised over $29,000 towards fire company operations. That figure dropped to only $15,128.65 in 2014, not including a generous gift of $10,110 from the estate of Arthur Galloway. A golf tournament planned for later this year has been postponed for fall of 2016.

 

Anticipated Major Purchases:

(all dates are project starting dates; amounts and cost estimates are approximate)

2015     Sale of surplus equipment, 2006 Chevrolet Suburban, anticipated revenue $12,000.

2015     Sale of surplus equipment, 2004 Ford Crown Victoria, donated to Hampton Fire.

2015     Purchase of 15 Emergency Escape Systems, required by NY State 12 NYCRR Part 800.7. $14,000 – Completed.

2015     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE through 2014 FEMA AFG grant. $24,800. (PPE=coats, pants, boots, helmet, hood, gloves)

2015     Purchase of 1500’ of 5” large diameter hose $19,000.00 including couplings and hydrant connections. This will equip one truck. We have four that need to be outfitted.1

2016     Purchase of 2000’ of 1.75” attack line $5,000.00. This will equip four trucks.

2016     Purchase of Carbon Fiber wrapped SCBA tanks cost of $14,500.

2016     The renovation of fire training center, includes purchase of 5 shipping containers for live burn rooms. To be completed by 2018. $25,000

2016     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE. $25,000. (PPE=coats, pants, boots, helmet, hood, gloves)

2017     Purchase replacement windows for both buildings (w-1913, w-1968). Both buildings received new vinyl replacement windows in 1987. Some of the conditions are broken glass, failed dual glass panels, sashes that will not stay closed and/or do not hold heat. Cost unknown.

2017     Purchase of 1500’ of 5” large diameter hose $19,000.00 including couplings and hydrant connections. This will equip one truck. We have four that need to be outfitted.2

2017     Purchase of 3 SCBA, plus 3 spare bottles $25,000.

2018     The floor and stairwell in the 1913 building is unsafe and needs to be rebuilt. Cost unknown.

2018     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE, $25,000. (PPE=coats, pants, boots, helmet, hood, gloves)

2018     Purchase of 1500’ of 5” large diameter hose $20,000.00 including couplings and hydrant connections. This will equip one truck. We have four that need to be outfitted.3

2019     Refinish concrete floors in both stations #1 and #2. (w-1968, s-1974) $20,000.

2019     Purchase of 1500’ of 5” large diameter hose $20,000.00 including couplings and hydrant connections. This will equip one truck. We have four that need to be outfitted.4

2019     Purchase of 3 SCBA, plus 3 spare bottles $25,000.

2020     Purchase of 15 Emergency Escape Systems, $16,000.

2020     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE, $25,000. (PPE=coats, pants, boots, helmet, hood, gloves)

2021     Purchase of 3 SCBA, plus 3 spare bottles $26,000.

2023     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE, $25,000.

2024     Purchase of 3 SCBA, $20,000.

2025     Purchase of new SCBA air refill station, $50,000. (to replace 35 year old unit).

2025     Replace Ladder 482 replacement, $950,000.

2026     Purchase of 3 SCBA, plus 3 spare bottles $27,000.

2027     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE, $27,000. (PPE=coats, pants, boots, helmet, hood, gloves)

2028     Purchase of 3 SCBA, plus 3 spare bottles $27,000.

2032     Replace Engine Tanker 483, $450,000.

2034     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE, $29,000. (PPE=coats, pants, boots, helmet, hood, gloves)

2035     Replace Engine Rescue 481, $750,000.

2037     Purchase of 3 SCBA, plus 3 spare bottles $29,000.

2038     Replace Engine Tanker 484, $500,000.

2038     Purchase of 10 sets of PPE, $29,000.

 

 

Grant History

  • 2005     $ 94,000 FEMA AFG – PPE / SCBA
  • 2006     $  1,500 ENCON grant – Pump w/ forestry hose
  • 2007     $ 95,000 FEMA AFG – Engine Tanker
  • 2007     $  1,500 ENCON grant – Chain Saw Safety Chaps, Helmet
  • 2008     $ 30,000 NY State – Ice Water Rescue Boat
  • 2008     $  1,500 ENCON grant – Chainsaw, Safety equipment
  • 2009     $ 21,000 FEMA AFG – AED/Radios-cross band repeater system
  • 2009     $  2,000 NY State – shelving for Engine Tanker
  • 2010     $ 51,000 FEMA AFG – PPE / Gear Lockers
  • 2010     $  1,500 ENCON grant- Hand Tools, Indian Tanks
  • 2011     $  1,500 ENCON grant – Fire-resistant Coveralls for Brush fires
  • 2015     $ 24,800 FEMA AFG – PPE

Total $325,300 over 10 years, averages $32,530 per year in grants.