|Additional Notice/ Information on the public referendum|
|By Department News|
|August 26, 2022|
***Additional Notice/ Information on the public referendum:***
The Yorktown Heights Fire District (hereinafter referred to as “The District”) has posted via local newspapers and the department website (www.yorktownfire.org) the announcement of a public referendum vote occurring August 30, 2022. Attached below will be the exact posting link and document. The referendum is to request the approval of the voters for The District to either bond on one or more installment purchase contracts. The information below is intended to identify the fiscal reasoning behind the bond request, and our operational need to purchase new fire suppression apparatus.
The financial side:
The operational need:
The current fleet of the Yorktown Heights Fire District is as follows:
The Fire Engines responsibilities are to supply a limited amount of on-board water, bring fire hose to the scene to extinguish the fire, and establish a water supply for the emergency. Tankers bring an additional large amount of on-board water to supplement and supply the scene. Our Ladder provides a 100’ aerial ladder, compliment of ground ladders for vertical access/rescue, and tools to assist in forcible entry and ventilation. The Heavy Rescue houses a multitude of specialized equipment for many different emergencies. Each fire suppression piece contains seating and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for manpower to use on the scene of an emergency.
Currently, the replacement plan is for front-line Fire Engines to be replaced at their 20th year as a new Engine is delivered, and moved to second-line, and then the second-line Fire Engines are to be retired and sold after additional wear and tear and increased maintenance costs. Ladders, Tankers, and Rescues are to be refurbished at 15 years and retired 30 years after being placed into service.
Our apparatus inventory by apparatus number:
As one can see, the intended replacement schedule hasn’t been followed exactly as planned. However, The Board of Fire Commissioners working with the Chief and his Command Staff of Fire Officers have done an excellent job of rotating apparatus to prolong their useful lives. This extended life has allowed apparatus to remain in service for longer than anticipated, which in turn allowed The District’s fire tax rates to remain stable for years without an increase. This extension of life however has now given way to an extremely aging fleet that is much older than what the needs of The District can handle. The apparatuses increased age, along with increasing call volume, has brought on greater wear and maintenance issues, continuously climbing repair costs, and more importantly significant “out of service” time. The major concern with “out of service” time is with vehicles, such as our tanker, are then not able to respond to emergencies. This lack of response immediately reduces the available water of 2,600 gallons off our initial fire attack. Furthermore, the older fire apparatus lack current NFPA Standard safety systems found on our newer apparatus, and there is an increased training requirement for our members as every apparatus operates differently from one another. The Bond will allow us to purchase a replacement front line Fire Engine, as well as add an additional Tanker to our fleet. The addition of the Tanker will ensure that when the current tanker is out of service for repairs, our immediately available water supply is not diminished. The new apparatus will have increased safety systems, better designs for fire attack efficiency to meet current operational plans, and be built similarly to our current 2019 Engine, with the added benefit of decreasing mechanical out of service down time and mechanical repair costs, while saving money in the long run.
The last question to address is, “can we wait?” Maybe costs will stabilize. Maybe rates will drop. But at this current point The District has been monitoring prices for one calendar year and have watched pricing increase over $400,000. Additionally, one must factor in the build time from signing a contract to delivery of the apparatus. Current fire apparatus build times are at 650+ days. That means even if the apparatus is ordered immediately the day after the vote, the earliest delivery time to YHFD is June of 2024. This doesn’t include the up-fitting of equipment, as well as the YHFD personnel training requirements. By the time the new apparatus arrive, each apparatus in the YHFD fleet will be at minimum two years older.
As a 100% all-volunteer fire department, our members are your neighbors, and this bond will affect our taxes as well. We protect our own houses as well as you and your family's. We are asking you, as our neighbors and as our customers, to aid in giving us safer, better designed, and more reliable apparatus so we can ensure that we can continue provide the level of fire protection that we already do.
NOTICE OF SPECIAL ELECTION
|Hyperlinks:||NOTICE OF SPECIAL ELECTION