The Pinsky Law Group is proud to announce that it has assisted the Town of Somerset with obtaining a solution to a major issue in the control, funding and operation of the local fire department. Until now, the village of Barker’s fire department provided fire protection to the town of Somerset and the town contracted for its protection. However, the town provides approximately ninety-five (95%) percent of funding for the fire department.
Unfortunately, if the village suffered any sort of significant claim such as a firefighter injury or an uninsured lawsuit, the village alone would be obligated to bear the cost.
Recognizing that there must be a better way to fund the fire operations, the town of Somerset approached the Pinsky Law Group. Our firm advised that the only present method recognized by law to address this issue was to create a joint fire district, a solution that in this instance, created more problems than benefits.
Thus, the Pinsky Law Group, working with the local senator and assemblyman, drafted legislation that would permit the town to expand its fire protection district into the town and place the village’s fire department under control of the town. This solution avoided the need to create another government entity and equalized the tax rates and legal obligations across all taxpayers in the town of Somerset and the village of Barker.
his solution also permitted the fire department to be funded by one budget instead of two budgets, and to work around one contract in a single contract year. Town budgets run on a calendar year, but village budgets begin in June.
The Barker Fire Department has become an “independent” fire department, under the control of the town alone, and free from many of the requirements of the village law over its fire department.
The Pinsky Law Group offers its municipal and emergency service clients numerous “out of the box” solutions to address their issues. As Phil Pinsky (the father of Brad Pinsky and the former Counsel to the New York State Senate Majority Leader Warren Anderson) used to say, “Sometimes the best solution is legislative”, meaning that the solution does not yet exist in law but needs to be created.
The Pinsky Law Group may be contacted by phone at (315) 428-8345 and viewed on its website at www.pinskylaw.com