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Fire Commissioners to adopt $1M plan

Only a single person attended the Tuesday night public hearing on the Fire Commissioners’ proposed $1.004 million budget for 2022. But that’s one more than typically show up.

The Commissioners plan to adopt increases in spending next year by $70,086, a 7.5% increase. The increase pierces the state-imposed 2% tax cap, but commissioners had voted unanimously to approve piercing the cap if it became necessary.

What that means in terms of taxes is that an owner of property estimated at a median value of $840,000 would pay an additional $14.83 in 2022 compared with the tax bite for the current year. An owner whose property is assessed at $1.5 million would pay $412.44 next year compared with $385.95 this year.

Most of the increased spending results from approximately $500,000 that had to be spent for upgraded radio equipment necessary to enable dispatching services to be rendered to the Island from Southold Police, backed up by Suffolk County Police.

Commission Chairman Larry Lechmanski had long warned that the increase was coming, but kept it lower than it might have been by monitoring changes being explored by neighboring fire departments. That avoided investing in equipment that would have proved inadequate at this point.

“I’m proud of this budget,” Mr. Lechmanski said.