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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

Oyster Bay Town officials are mulling an override of the state’s 2 percent property tax cap for the second consecutive fiscal year. On Aug. 12, the town held a hearing to approve local legislation, giving the Town Council authority to pierce the cap.

 

However, according to Marta Kane, a spokesperson with the Town of Oyster Bay, Supervisor John Venditto and the members of the Oyster Bay Town Council are not certain if they will entertain a repeat of last year, when the board adopted a $277 million budget, increasing the tax levy by $15,964,647—or 8.8 percent. 

Village officials have teamed up with James Faith Entertainment—founders of the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue—to organize Farmingdale’s first ever two-day music festival, this September 13 and 14. 

 

“Farmingdale is another town that is starting to move forward,” festival producer Jim Faith told the Farmingdale Observer, last May. “[The inaugural festival] will be small, but we’ll start growing it... music festival always take a few years to catch on.” 

 

Faith said that when he first started the Great South Bay Music Festival, back in 2007, it too started small, growing little by little each year. For its inaugural year, Faith booked folk musician Richie

Havens to headline the event. Now, more than eight years later, the festival has featured numerous big name musicians, including: the Doobie Brothers, WAR, Billy Squier, Taking Back Sunday, moe., and Blues legend B.B. King, to name a few. 


Sports

Register now as classes fill up quickly and you don’t want to miss out on the chance to join in trapeze workshops at Eisenhower Park’s I.FLY this fall.

 

“I.FLY was designed to give kids and adults the ability to fulfill their dreams of being in the circus,” says instructor Anthony Rosamilia.  “Flying through the air never gets boring.  At I.FLY, we help people create lifelong memories.” 

After more than a month of group play, on Aug. 16, fourteen teams went head-to-head for a shot at the 2014 Farmingdale Baseball League’s 9/11 Tournament Championship. Here are some highlights from Saturday’s championships. 

 

8U Finals

Long Island Rangers 8 - Farmingdale Greendogs 9


Calendar

McKevitt Mobile Office Hours - August 21

Artisan Market - August 23

Blood Drive - August 24


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