The Levittown Fire District will be holding elections for Fire Commissioner on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The polls will be located at the Gardiners Avenue Firehouse, just north of the Levittown Post Office, from 4 to 9 p.m.
Registered voters of the Levittown Fire District are eligible to vote for Fire Commissioner, it's not just for firefighters. This is a non-salary town official position. There are five commissioners, and each year one completes their five-year term. The candidates are listed below in alphabetical order.
Joel Bearman has been a member of the Levittown Fire Department for the last 32 years, serving the past five as fire commissioner. He said he thinks this experience makes him the most qualified candidate.
"During my term of office I have worked jointly with the other members of the board of fire commissioners to provide the residents of the Levittown Fire District with the best fire protection available," he said. "I along with other members of the board have shown fiscal responsibility by lowering the fire district tax rate the last three consecutive years."
Bearman said he has the ability to work well with others and is a hands on individual.
"I have worked diligently with the chief officers of the Levittown Fire Department to provide the most modern and up to date equipment available for our volunteer firefighters," he added.
According to Bearman, his first and foremost goal is fiscal responsibility.
"In this age of ever increasing financial burdens on our taxpayers every effort must be made to keep the fire district tax rate as low as possible, but also to continue to provide the residents of the district with the best possible fire and emergency medical services."
If re-elected Bearman said he would "continue to provide the training necessary to provide the members of the fire department with the knowledge to do their jobs properly."
A lifelong Levittown resident, Bearman and his wife, Patricia, have two children. He is a retired lieutenant from the New York City Fire Department Emergency Medical Services. He has served in several positions at the Levittown Fire Department and for the past 25 years as chairman of the Fire Prevention Committee. In addition to his involvement with the Levittown Athletic Club Girls Softball League, including serving as president since 2000, Bearman is a member of the Levittown 60th Anniversary Committee.
A Levittown resident for over 30 years Andrew Booth said he knows he has what it takes to make the decisions involved with being a fire commissioner.
An active member of the Levittown Fire Department, Booth was previously captain of Engine Co. 3.
"My first priority is to make sure every firefighter has the best training in firefighting and fire rescue and that all of our men and women have the best equipment and tools available," he said. "To recruit and keep new members in our department we must have tax incentives from New York State for all of our firefighters to save the fire district from becoming a paid fire department. I will work diligently with the fire districts and the state to make sure every volunteer firefighter and rescue person in our fire district receives the same tax credit with no local tax increase."
One of the biggest challenges Booth said he anticipates will be providing volunteer firefighters with the most up to date equipment and training available.
"I will see that our tax dollars are wisely spent, with the taxpayer's best interest in mind," he added. "Whereas the Levittown Fire District has a $3,000,000 budget, the Levittown School District has a budget of $160,000,000. As a member of the Advisory Board for the Levittown School District, I feel that I am more than qualified."
Booth and his wife, Joyce, have one son and two grandchildren. He was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps. and is retired from the Nassau County Sheriff's Department. He is active in several civic organizations including Kiwanis Club, vice president of the Levittown/Island Trees Property Owners Association, Levittown Chamber of Commerce board member and Citizens Advisory Budget Committee member. He also founded a Thanksgiving dinner for local senior citizens, food drive for residents in need and the Adopt-a-Family program.
Levittowner Joseph Lupo, said he is running for fire commissioner because of the existing high taxes paid by homeowners.
"In being prudent in our spending of district monies I feel I will be able to lower some of these burdens," he added.
Throughout his 36 years of experience at Verizon, Lupo said he handled property owner complaints and claims and regulated money.
"These duties were similar to the tasks that are required by the fire commission," he explained.
"I'm only one person not promising to solve all the problems that exist, but I'm a fair, honest, hard working person, which makes me a prime candidate."
If elected, Lupo said he would enter the position with an open mind, observe and analyze the operations of the district and zero in on areas that need to be addressed.
"There is always room for improvement," he said. "I feel that with my 36 years of experience in problem mediating and finance regulating I will be able to utilize our county's tax dollars in the most appropriate ways so that we as a community will get the most for our tax money."
As with any position, Lupo said the challenge lies with familiarizing himself with the daily operations of the district.
"As well as any issues that arise and that need to be addressed on the spot properly remedying these problems is a major goal."
After serving in the Navy's Amphibious Forces, Lupo worked for the New York Telephone Company. Retired recently in June, he was rehired as a consultant. He and his wife, Elena moved to Levittown 20 years ago and have two children and two grandchildren. He is a member of the Levittown Property Owners Association and has been a member of the Levittown Fire Department for over 16 years and is the ex-captain of Ladder Co. 1.