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Fire District To Vote On Benefits

 

Members of the South Farmingdale Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners recently voted to hold a special referendum on June 3, making the volunteer fire department the first on Long Island to let voters decide whether the district can redefine its existing Length Of Service Award Program [LOSAP] benefits for volunteer firefighters.

 

According to South Farmingdale Fire Commissioner Thomas Mastakouris, the referendum looks to change the existing LOSAP program from a defined benefit to a defined contribution rate, while freezing LOSAP service credits for existing volunteers. 

 

“This would save [district] taxpayers hundreds of thousands while not taking away from our volunteers,” Mastakouris said.

 

In a release, fire department officials said that under the district’s current “defined benefit” program, a volunteer becomes eligible to receive LOSAP payments at age 62, at which point they can collect $20 a month for each year of service. The maximum benefit a volunteer can earn is $600 per month after earning 30 years of service credit.

 

In June, voters will determine if the district can change its volunteer benefit, effective Jan. 2015, to allow up to $700 a year to be contributed into an account for firefighters who are egible—at age 62—to collect LOSAP awards. Contributions will be invested and will grow with added interest.

 

“Everybody comes out a winner,” Mastakouris said, stressing that the “sins of the past” are not going to be taken out on the newest generation of volunteer firefighters. 

 

The ‘sins’ Mastakouris refers to occurred in 2011, when a state appellate court found that a former South Farmingdale Fire Commissioner had wrongfully collected LOSAP benefits. Since that time, the South Farmingdale Fire District has elected a new board, lowered department spending, and has even gone up from a A1 bond rating to Aa3, according to Moody’s International Investment firm. 

 

Although the South Farmingdale Fire District currently estimates spending $160,000 towards LOSAP awards this year, officials say that proposal to switch to a “defined contribution” plan will only cost the district $50,000 a year—$110,000 less than the current projections.

 

Mastakouris adds that the South Farmingdale Fire District anticipates immediate savings as a result of the referendum, which the department may use to purchase a new ladder truck in the future. 


News

It’s been more than 50 years since the Farmingdale High School class of 1964 roamed the halls of their beloved high school, but that doesn’t mean that the memories have faded. The class—the first to graduate from Farmingdale High—came together on Saturday, October 18 at the Marriott in Islandia to celebrate all of the good times past and make new memories as a class.  

Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution. 

 

In Farmingdale, school district officials have been vigilant in their efforts to combat the virus. 


Sports

3rd Grade Division

The Giants and Jets met for the 2nd time this season, with the Giants again getting the victory over the Jets.  Jalen Gordon scored late into the 1st half for the Giants, which turned out to be the only points in the half.  The Giants shut the Jets down for both halves, keeping the offense off the board.  The Jets strong point this weekend was the defense, with Kyle June and Jake Kuller picking up the weekly William June Foundation awards.  In what is turning into a rough offensive season for the Jets, these awards continue to remind the boys of the perseverance and determination of the award’s namesake and his “never say quit” attitude.

 

—Submitted by Paul Caputo


William Merola, a member of the Farmingdale School District’s wrestling program, was recently selected to attend the third annual U.S. Marine Corps Summer Leadership and

Character Development program, which is limited to 150 sophomores and juniors throughout the nation.

 

Over the summer, from July 20-26, Merola attended the third annual Marine Corps recruiting command summer leadership and character academy at the USMC base in Quantico. 

 

The SLCDA (Summer Leadership and Character Development Program) educates high school leaders about Marine Corps Officer Programs by participating in classroom academics, ethics training, accelerated college prep, physical fitness training, a field exercise, a community service component and a field trip to Washington, D.C.


Calendar

Networking Event - October 29

Halloween Parade - October 31

Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair - November 2


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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