Commissioners of the Huntington Manor Fire Department expect to send the Town of Huntington a budget with a 2.6 percent tax increase after reviewing cost estimates Tuesday night.
The increase would take the budget from $4,799,471 this year to $4,923,690 for 2011. The board's final vote is expected at its next meeting on Nov.4.
"The goal was to keep the increase below three percent," board chairman John C. Glidden III said. "Worker's comp, New York State retirement costs, energy and insurance" were all factors in the increase.
No estimate of the impact on the average district homeowner was immediately available.
Also cited in costs was an unfunded state mandate. Assistant Chief Gary Hatton outlined a plan to build a rappelling practice station at the Jericho Turnpike substation because the State Department of Labor is requiring fire departments to train and provide a personal escape system for firefighters. The department hopes to establish a training building at 2100 New York Ave. for further development, but the rappelling station will serve to meet state requirements until then.
The board also discussed a pilot program that would enable various agencies to better communicate with each other and people on the scene of an emergency. Board members said the Town of Huntington is exploring a grant that would help fund a computer system that would allow agencies to communicate directly with the proper people at an emergency and ensure a better flow of information. The computer links would operate separately from the regular radio system.
"For example, if there were an emergency at Walt Whitman High School, the department could talk directly to the principal, or the police on the scene," Michael Pastore said.
In an emergency, participating agencies would be granted access to such systems as mall security cameras or be connected directly to a police officer's cell phone. Pastore said interest in such a system began after the mass slayings at Columbine High School in 1999 and has grown through several other disasters, including the World Trade Center attacks.
Glidden said the system would reduce the chances of bad information being transmitted as it is passed from person to person. "If activated, we could use every camera to see what is happening in each location," Glidden said. "This would enable everyone to communicate at the same time."