LOSAP3/5/2019 | Categories:
q On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, registered voters, residing in the Village of Watkins Glen for at least 30 days, will have the opportunity to vote “yes” or “no” to establish a Volunteer Firefighter Service Award Program for active volunteer firefighter members of the Watkins Glen Fire Department, effective January 1, 2019.
q Service Award Programs are intended to help recruit and retain active volunteer firefighters by financially rewarding them for the services they provide to their community.
q The proposed Village of Watkins Glen Volunteer Firefighter Service Award Program will be a “defined contribution” program. The Program will be administered by the New York State Office of the State Comptroller and/or its designee(s).
q An active volunteer firefighter member earns a year of service credit by accumulating a minimum of 50 “points” during a calendar year, which is mandated by New York State Law. Points are earned for attending drills, responding to calls, completing training courses, attending company meetings, completing a one-year term as an officer, etc.
q For each year of active volunteer firefighter service credit earned, a $500 “Service Award” will be credited to the participating volunteer’s Service Award Program account balance as of the end of the calendar year. These funds are then invested and any investment income earned will be added to the participating volunteer’s account balance. The annual cost to administer the Program will be deducted from the accounts.
q A participating volunteer must earn five years of service credit to become vested in his/her Service Award Program account balance. If a participating volunteer ceases being an active volunteer firefighter member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department before earning five years of service credit, the account balance earned by the participating volunteer will be forfeited and the funds will be returned to the Village of Watkins Glen.
q A participating volunteer is eligible to apply for and be paid his or her Service Award Program account balance as of the last day of the calendar year in which he/she is age 60 and 100% vested.
q Additionally, a participating volunteer’s program account balance may be paid from the program if the participating volunteer becomes totally and permanently disabled or dies prior to age 60. The death benefit will be paid only if the participating volunteer had attained a 100% vested status in the program.
q In calendar year 2020, property taxpayers in the Village of Watkins Glen will begin funding the program based on the 2019 roster of active volunteer firefighter member points; each year thereafter the annual cost will be recalculated and based on the annually updated active volunteer firefighter member point records.
q Based on the current roster, the annual cost could be as much as $20,000; which is about 13.3¢ per $1,000 of assessed property value. For a property assessed at $100,000, the property owner will pay $13.30 per year for this program. This is a 1.61% increase to the Village Tax Levy.
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