Glad That Election is Over? Now it’s Time to Vote Again!

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff.

Paul BishopNew York Fire District Election Day for FIRE DISTRICT commissioners is Tuesday, December 11. Surprised?  You are not alone.  In 2010, only 20 people showed up to vote in the Monroe County Town of Brighton’s fire district election. The year before, only 19 voted in the county’s Town of Henrietta. These elections have a real impact on fire district tax rates, but few people vote in them.

By submitting Freedom of Information Law requests to several Monroe County towns in my own community, I was able to secure voter turnout for a number of fire district elections held in the past 3 years. Average voter turnout across these districts was under one-half of one percent—fewer than 5 of every 1000 registered voters cast ballots. Unlike the election day that just passed, there is no “Get Out the Vote” effort attached to fire district elections—these elections are little noted, unless there is a specific financial issue such as bonding for a large purchase. Read more »

Citizens Have the Power to Reduce Fire District Costs

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff, Democrat & Chronicles.

Charles ZettekThe December 8 election for fire district commissioners is a date to remember for taxpayers who are interested in reducing local property taxes.  By state law, fire districts are separate and independent units of local government, typically governed by five to seven commissioners who are elected by voters within each fire district.  Terms are staggered so that changing a board requires several elections.  From the perspective of taxpayers, the key point is this – fire commissioners develop and approve the budget for their district and determine the property taxes needed to support their budget.  Thus, if taxpayers want to reduce their fire district property tax, taxpayers need to convince their fire commissioners to reduce the district budget, or elect different commissioners at the next election.

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