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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

Farmingdale village officials will be holding a public hearing on Dec. 1, to reexamine school speed zones throughout the village, in order to establish a consistent school speed zone limit. 

Holidays Increase Daily Congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

At a special “wrap up “ meeting for the 2014 Marcum Workplace Challenge, Greater Long Island Running Club Vice President and Event Director Mindy Davidson of Farmingdale, presented a special plaque to Winsome Foulkes, team captain of the Farmingdale-based Telephonics Corporation.  Winsome is retiring from Telephonics after a long and successful career and has led the Telephonics Corporation in the Marcum Workplace Challenge since its inception.  

There is simply no better way for runners and their families to celebrate the Holiday Season than by being part of the fun at the Carter, DeLuca, Farrell & Schmidt Holiday 5 Kilometer Run, and on Saturday morning, Dec. 20, the Run will be celebrating its 27th anniversary edition at the John F. Kennedy Middle School in Bethpage. The run will start at 9:30 a.m. on Broadway in Bethpage.


Calendar

Les Miserables - November 21

The Wedding Singer - November 21

Holiday Parade - November 22


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