This is an open letter to the Apalachin Fire District Taxpayers. As we head into the holiday season, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for your generosity and support of your volunteer fire department and to keep you aware of what’s going on in the fire district.
The Apalachin Fire Department started their annual appeal earlier last month for all residents of the fire district. On behalf of all your volunteers and leadership team, thank you for your generosity in supporting and recognizing the sacrifices our volunteers make serving you all year.
We had a wonderful turnout at our Open House on Oct. 10. This event provided us an opportunity to interact with dozens of our community members and to hear directly from you. We also received several new applications for new volunteers. Thank you to all who shared their voices and especially to those that stepped up to serve our community going forward.
The Commissioners completed their budget preparation for 2019 and submitted a plan to the State representing a 1.9 percent tax levy increase. We’re confident that this investment will support the current operational and capital improvement plan of the fire district. The largest increases in the 2019 budget are payroll, new insurance requirements, and an increased investment in new protective gear for interior firefighters. We recognize that any tax increase may present a hardship for our constituents, particularly those on a fixed income. We don’t take the responsibility lightly and are confident that your tax dollars are making a difference in our firefighter’s safety and capabilities to protect the public.
Regarding safety, I was asked by our volunteers to mention the courtesy blue lights they use. Per New York State Vehicle and Transportation Law, a volunteer firefighter may use a blue light to signal their response to a fire emergency when dispatched by our 911 center. I encourage you all to be alert, be courteous, and to yield the right of way to those dedicated volunteers responding to a 911 call. It’s certainly one of your neighbors they are on their way to help and it may very well be your friend or family member, so thank you in advance for your consideration.
Election Day isn’t over yet. On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the polls will be open again to vote for your Fire Commissioner. Polls are open at Station 1 between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Finally, I’d like to end on a high note. We are extremely blessed and fortunate to recognize volunteer firefighter and Fire Captain Ken Brinkman for 60 years of service to the Apalachin Volunteer Fire Department. Ken has faithfully served the public in many roles with the fire department including his current roles as a Director and Fire Police Captain, actively responding to calls still today. This is an extraordinary accomplishment and testament to his character, selflessness, and commitment to serve.
On behalf of all firefighters, chiefs, and commissioners, we extend our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to Ken and our gratitude to his family for their years of sacrifice in sharing him with us.
We hope you will stop by and join us in honoring Ken and this milestone on Sunday, Dec. 9, between 2 and 4 p.m. at Station 1.
Any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out. We look forward to seeing you all in October!
Chairman, Board of Fire Commissioners
Apalachin Fire District