From the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Thomas P. DiNapoli
DiNAPOLI PROPOSES MORE TRANSPARENCY FOR FIRE PROTECTION COSTS
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today proposed changes to the process for local communities that contract out their fire protection services to incorporated volunteer fire companies. DiNapoli’s legislation would require any incorporated fire company to submit an itemized statement of the estimated costs of providing fire services prior to contract negotiations with any town, village or fire district.
“Many communities rely on the efforts of volunteer fire fighters to protect residents and their property,” DiNapoli said “My legislative proposal would help ensure that the public is aware of the costs of providing fire services before contracts are signed and creates a more standardized process across New York that implements best practices.”
DiNapoli’s legislation is supported by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, the Association of Fire Districts of the State of New York and the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs.
His office also released a report to help New Yorkers learn about the different ways that communities offer fire protection services to residents. New York’s system for providing fire protection is complex. It can lead to lack of civic understanding, limited participation in budget hearings and special elections, and not enough oversight of financial operations.
The report notes:
- As of December 2015, there were 886 fire districts in the state.
· All 62 cities and many of the state’s villages have municipal fire departments.
· There are over 90,000 volunteer and about 18,000 paid career firefighters throughout the state.
· Ninety-four percent of fire district revenues come from property taxes.
· Because fire companies are private entities, they are not subject to many of the laws that apply to municipalities and fire districts.
Between 2011 and 2015, the Comptroller’s office audited 194 fire districts and 113 fire companies. DiNapoli’s office trained approximately 1,200 fire officials across the state in the last three years on financial matters.
Attached is the Legislative Memo related to the new legislation:
Attached is actual proposed text of the legislation: