The following is an open letter to the Apalachin Fire District Taxpayers.
The year has flown by as we head into June and prepare for a summer that we optimistically get to share safely with our friends and family. At the fire department, things are starting to return to a sense of normalcy as our membership is overwhelmingly vaccinated and we resumed in-person trainings last month. Our volunteers still maintain safety precautions, particularly with patient care, in an effort to remain safe and available to respond to emergency calls.
As shared previously, over the past nine months the fire department has answered the call for assistance from New York State to provide EMS coverage for the COVID testing site. Most importantly, our dedicated volunteers have still maintained coverage for over 90% of all 911 calls we received this year and over 95% for all first-due 911 calls in our district. That is remarkable achievement given the 100-plus hours per week we served at the COVID testing site simultaneously and a testament to our volunteer dedication. Our service at the COVID testing site has also come to an end as we head into June.
It will take some time to wrap up the books, but the Fire District does anticipate a material financial benefit from serving at the COVID site. The Commissioners are currently evaluating how we can best benefit the taxpayers with this gain, recognizing that it is a one-time benefit and should not be used to manage recurring operational expenses.
Some additional items of interest; the Fire District is in the process of acquiring the vacant home next to Station 1. This is intended to solve our long-term parking challenges at a much more cost-effective basis than using the rear of the station. We also have declared our old fire engine surplus and intend to use the proceeds of that sale towards our Vehicle Reserve to offset any future tax increases on replacement apparatus.
As we head into summer we encourage all of you to stay safe, get vaccinated, and enjoy the opportunity to be with friends and family. As always, we are here to serve you and on behalf of the entire Board of Fire Commissioners, we want to thank the dedicated volunteers and staff members that have continued to serve you throughout the year, and especially in this pandemic. Their selflessness is something we can all be proud of.
If you have any questions or comments, I invite you to reach out at any time and look forward to hearing from you.
Chairman, Board of Fire Commissioners
Apalachin Fire District