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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

Over Labor Day Weekend, from Aug. 29-Sept. 1, the American Airpower Museum in East Farmingdale, treated Long Island locals to a once in a lifetime experience, taking visitors high above the clouds during its Warbird Weekend: Salute to Airpower. 

 

To kick off the celebration, on Aug. 28, tens of thousands of Long Islanders who worked in local defense plants, but were never given an official “thanks” for a job well done, were honored by the Museum. 

Sometimes when you do a job for a customer, you really have to expect the unexpected. 

 

In the case of German Cabral and Jason Galvin, energy efficiency advisors with the Farmingdale-based Green Homes Long Island, this was just the case. Who could have imagined that while trying to figure out the best way ot lower a client’s energy bills they would solve a 20-year-old mystery? 

 

On Aug. 20, certified energy efficiency experts did a home energy audit for Plainview resident Seymour Bosworth, with the goal of lowering the homeowner’s energy use by 25 percent or more. 


Sports

 

The 2014 Farmingdale Flag Football season kicked off with a blast on Sept. 7.

 

3rd Grade Division

 

The Texans and the Jets played a great opening weekend game, with the Texans getting the victory.  For the Texans, touchdown pass from Joseph Spano to Jaxon Parisi with 20 seconds in the half broke a tie that the Jets never came back from.  The Jets were led by Brendan O’Keefe, who had two rushing touchdowns and Jimmy Caputo, who picked off a pass at the goal line.

 

Farmingdale State College’s women’s tennis team opened the 2014 season with an 8-1 victory over John Jay College (0-1) on Sept. 3. The Rams (1-0) held a 2-1 advantage after doubles play before sweeping the singles matches.


Calendar

Joint Networking Event - September 10

Sept. 11 Anniversary - September 11

Downtown Music Festival - September 13


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com