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Halesite FD Seeks New Pumper

Commissioners of the Halesite Fire District passed a resolution at their July 13 meeting authorizing a special district vote that seeks taxpayer approval for the purchase of a new 1,000 gallon-per-minute (GPM) 4×4 pumper. The new equipment is to be manufactured by Ferrara Fire Apparatus of Holden, LA. District-wide vote is slated for August 30 at Halesite Fire Headquarters, 1 New York Avenue North. Polls will be open from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and all persons registered as of August 7 are eligible to cast their ballot.

The resolution seeks taxpayer approval to spend $289,499 for the vehicle and an additional $87,906.80 in fees and interest. The total taxpayer burden sums to $377,405.80. An initial payment of $100,000 will come from the District’s Capital Reserve Fund and the balance from a lease agreement with Community Leasing Partners of Manhattan, KS. Financing is at an annual interest rate of 4.45% and the first lease payment of $27,740.58 is not due until June 1, 2013. Nine additional annual installments are due on June 1st of each subsequent year through and including 2022.

Department Chief Andy Magerle says that the new apparatus will be equipped with four-wheel drive– a much-needed addition to the Department’s firefighting arsenal. According to Magerle, a four-wheel drive vehicle can ford snow drifts, attack hard-to-reach brush fires, and negotiate residential sites situated on steep hills.

Founded in 1901, Halesite Fire Department serves the residents and taxpayers of Huntington Bay, Huntington Bay Hills, Halesite, Knollwood Beach, and Marble Hills. In compliance with New York State municipal law, Department operations are under the watchful eye of a Fire District Board of Commissioners who are elected by the public to serve five-year terms.  Board Member tenure is staggered so that one member is elected every year.

The District employs five full-time Housemen who provide basic apparatus maintenance and building services. The Housemen, who work around the clock, serve as dispatchers during fires and medical emergencies. In addition, the District employs a Secretary/Treasurer who keeps tabs on financial and administrative records.

All firefighting and emergency medical personnel are volunteers who serve without compensation and reside in the community.  The Department roster currently includes 64 men and 2 women, several of whom are New York City firefighters or officers– an asset that adds considerable expertise to the department’s skills. Halesite’s membership rolls include an FDNY Hook & Ladder Company Captain and five FDNY firefighters.

In the eight and a half months of 2011, Magerle says that the Department has responded to approximately 400 alarms including more than 250 requests for emergency medical assistance.

Even though a recent membership drive has attracted 12 new members, the department is always looking for “ . . .  a few good men and women” to join its ranks. Residents are urged to call 631-427-1910 for more information.

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