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Public hearing on proposed firefighter service award program scheduled for January

— Firefighters qualify for the program by being at least 18 years-old and having completed one full year of firefighting service. Every year of service in the program would accrue $700 in a firefighter’s account. That contribution is gained only by earning 50 credit points per year, which is calculated by their participation through things such as attendance at meetings, training and calls, White said. Those who do not achieve 50 points per year do not receive the annual contribution. Accounts would be managed by McNeil and Company as mutual fund portfolios, White said.

There are currently about 58 members of the Cazenovia VFD that qualify for the LOSAP, White said. If all 58 seek to join the program and accrue the requisite number of points, then the first year payout by the village would be about $40,000, White said. The program also allows for payments going back through five years of service (only during the firefighter’s inaugural year), which, if every eligible member achieved payment, would cost the village another $35,000, he said.

So if the village board were to approve the LOSAP, it would cost the village approximately $75,000 the first year, and $40,000 every year thereafter, White said. Comparatively, the salary of a professional firefighter is about $85,000 per year with benefits, he said.

Because LOSAP participants must first qualify with their annual 50 points, if the program were approved by the village in 2014, the first payouts would not occur until 2015, he said.

From a practical budgetary standpoint, the village board would have two fiscal years before it had to work this program cost into its annual budget, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler.

In order for the program to be approved, the village board must hold a public hearing on the proposal and take a board vote. If the board votes for approval, the program must then be approved by village voters through a referendum, Wheeler said.

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