The Village of Shoreham is looking to put themselves under the protective umbrella of the nearby fire department.
While the village currently contracts with the Rocky Point Fire District, village officials have requested home rule applications to extend the fire district boundaries to encompass the tiny North Shore municipality. It might seem like a minor change but expanding the district boundaries to include the .5-square-mile village could take months of work getting the state to agree to the extension.
For more than a decade, Shoreham village has contracted out to the Rocky Point Fire District for their fire and emergency service needs, according to Rocky Point Fire District manager Ed Brooks.
Neither a representative of Shoreham village nor the village attorney, the Riverhead-based Anthony Tohill, responded to multiple requests for comment.
If the district boundaries are expanded, the cost will instead come out of village residents’ taxes paid to the district. Brooks said the cost shouldn’t be much different for village residents either monetarily or in the coverage by the district.
“We met with them, they sent us some literature and letters, we had a meeting, we advised our attorney, we have given our consent to make the application,” Brooks said.
Village officials requested that the Town of Brookhaven send a home rule request to the New York State legislature to extend the fire district’s boundaries, which was approved unanimously at Brookhaven’s May 23 meeting. A copy of the letter for the request was forwarded to State Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk).
The expansion of the district boundaries requires home rule requests by both Shoreham village and the Town of Brookhaven to New York State, requesting special legislation to expand. The process could take months.
“By extending the boundaries, the state gets involved, there’s legislation — it’s a long process,” said town Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point).
The Village of Old Field started the same process at the tail end of 2016 to bring in the Setauket Fire District. By July of 2017 the town hosted a public hearing and approved the extension. The fire district taxes were on residents’ bills by December of that year.
Rocky Point Fire District attorney, the Port Jefferson-based Bill Glass, who represents the fire district, said this change would have virtually no difference to the district, adding it would also have little to no difference in the amount the village pays for emergency services.
“When these contracts were designed, they were designed that [village residents] would pay as much as if they were paying for it through their taxes,” Glass said.