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Fire Commissioners decide to incorporate the department

JULIE LANE PHOTO Fire Commissioner Larry Lechmanski agreed with his colleagues Monday night to hold off efforts to incorporate the Shelter Island Fire Department in order to further discuss the pros and cons. Shown with his back to the camera is fellow Commissioner Richard Surozenski.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Fire Commissioner Larry Lechmanski agreed with his colleagues Monday night to hold off efforts to incorporate the Shelter Island Fire Department in order to further discuss the pros and cons. Shown with his back to the camera is fellow Commissioner Richard Surozenski.

On the advice of its attorney, Helen Rosenblum, Shelter Island Fire Commissioners Monday night agreed to to proceed to incorporate the Fire Department.

Ms. Rosenblum, who has handled other incorporations, told the commissioners she wanted to ensure they were making an informed decision.

What are the down sides to incorporation? Commissioner Keith Clark wanted to know.

The main argument against the legal step, Ms. Rosenblum said, is the cost of the work involved with incorporating, a figure she couldn’t provide because it depends on a number of factors.

On the plus side, Commissioner Larry Lechmanski said it could provide protection from certain liabilities for firefighters and the district’s treasurer, Amber Williams. It would also aid in fundraising, especially with the department’s two major events, the chicken barbecue and the country fair.

With all arguments made, the department passed a resolution to proceed with incorporation.

In other actions, the commissioners:
• Learned from Mr. Lechmanski that even if Southold should switch to high band service before it happens here, Suffolk County will be prepared to provide dispatching services on low band until January 1, 2021.
• Learned that equipment needed to boost and amplify dispatching calls is on order along with 10 pagers. Efforts will be made with Southold Police to set up a test of the tower in Peconic to see if it is more reliable than the connection out of Greenport where Shelter Island’s antenna is on a water tower. The cost last month for all the new equipment was estimated at close to $45,000.
• Told Fire Chief Greg Sulahian the commissioners will need a list of Fire Department needs for the 2017 budget year and asked for two lists — a necessary list and a wish list should money be available. The first budget workshop is scheduled at the Center Firehouse for Wednesday, August 24, at 6 p.m.
• Elite Towers attorney John Coughlin is continuing with paperwork for the application that must be filed with the town Building Department for a special permit needed to erect a tower on Cobbetts Lane at the Manhanset Firehouse. The Town Board selected an independent contractor to review the application and provide advice. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in on the application before a decision is reached.

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