Struggling fire department looks at creating fire district

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 5:43 PM EDT
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CHAUMONT, New York (WWNY) - The Chaumont Volunteer Fire Department says chicken barbecues just don’t fully fund a fire department. That’s why it’s looking at creating a new taxing jurisdiction: a fire district.

Chief William Lipczynski says the move could help ensure financial stability

“We’re a village fire department and the village right now doesn’t have the funding available to sustain our fire department,” he said.

A fire district would enable the department to bring in more funding to purchase another truck and maintain equipment. It would likely mean higher taxes for folks in Chaumont and the town of Lyme.

As a tradeoff, residents would have a higher influence on the department, being able to serve as fire commissioners.

“It would be anyone from the contractual district. They’d be voted on at election timeframe,” said Lipczynski.

He says his department was often told to host more fundraisers when it brought up financial struggles in the past. The issue is, no amount of chicken barbecues can pay for a fire truck.

“Especially since COVID, everything from our fire gear to fixing our fire trucks just keeps going up drastically,” said Lipczynski.

Although the proposal has seen support from village officials, some say they’re concerned about how much the district would raise taxes.

“At this point, we’ll have another meeting and then if they’re able to answer some of the questions, the next step would be a public hearing,” said Chaumont Mayor Jim Morrow.

Morrow says it’s far too early to know what the tax could be.