Jun 18, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
Starting in 2015, members of the Cazenovia Volunteer Fire Department will begin accruing retirement benefits, sponsored by the village, in the amount of $700 per firefighter for each year of service completed. This proposed Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) was overwhelmingly passed as a public referendum by a vote of 108 to 14approved by village voters during the June 17 village election.
Also victorious on June 17, Trustees David Porter and Jim Joseph and Village Justice Timothy Moore won reelection to their respective positions. All three ran unopposed.
The turnout for the election was relatively small – 124 voters, or 8 percent of eligible village voters – but for an unopposed election the turnout was impressive, said Mayor Kurt Wheeler. According to the vote tally, many residents went to the polls specifically to vote on the LOSAP referendum and abstained from voting for the elected offices.
“The village is delighted with the turnout and the overwhelming support for the Length of Service Award Program,” Wheeler said. “This is the right decision for the future of the village.”
CVFD Chief Nick Enders agreed. “We’re very happy, very excited, and we thank the community and the village for their support,” he said. “The fire department feels this will definitely benefit us regarding the recruitment and retention of members.”
The LOSAP referendum was approved by a vote of 108 to 14.
The program allows firefighters with enough years of service to accrue a monetary amount — similar to a retirement or 401K benefit — at retirement at age 65, with a maximum allowance of 40 years’ worth. There is also a lump sum death benefit.
Enrolled firefighters would receive $700 in an account for each year of service accrued. The cost of funding the program — to be funded by the village — would cost approximately $77,000 annually for the first five years, and $40,000 every year thereafter. Comparatively, the salary of a professional firefighter is about $85,000 per year with benefits, according to the fire department.
Enders said the $700 per year in accrued benefits works out to approximately 8 cents per hour per firefighter.
The fire department began collecting firefighter eligibility data for the program on Jan. 1 of this year. With the LOSAP now publically approved, that data will be submitted to the village board on Jan. 1, 2015, and payments to eligible firefighters will begin on June 1, 2015, Wheeler said. About 60 percent of the department is expected to qualify.
Results for the municipal officials reelected on June 17 showed that Porter, a Democrat and two-term trustee, received 99 votes and Joseph, a Republican and one-term trustee, received 87 votes. Both positions are for two-year terms on the village board.
Village Justice Timothy Moore received 87 votes to win a four-year term heading the village court.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.