The Affordable Health Care has as one of its the stipulations that employers with 50 or more employees working 30 hours a week were liable to pay for their employees health insurance.
"We carry about 30 part time staff and about 40 full time staff," said North Greece Assistant Fire Chief Jay France, so between the two there's no question we will be affected and it will be a burden on the taxpayers, we're just not sure what that's going to be yet."
There was a question about volunteer fire fighters being included and after months of debate the IRS ruled that the Fire department volunteers did not come under this mandate.
"We have about 60 volunteers here," said France, "so it would have been a heavy burden on our taxpayers." North Greece Fire Department responds on average to 3,400 calls, each year. "Cutting fire firefighters for us is just not an option, cutting services for us is really not an option if humanly possible," said France.
Some volunteer run stations like Hilton Fire department has 108 volunteers and having to pay insurance for them would have been impossible according to Hilton Fire Deputy Chief Steve Carter. . "When we looked at the potential fallout of what that could have been - it could have been very devastating to our budget for fiscal year '14," said Gates Fire Chief James Harrington.
If the Gates fire department had to provide health care for their 58 volunteer firefighters it would have cost tax payers $570,000 each year, according to Harrington. "Not having the money set aside to do this previously that would have been a very big concern for the board of fire commissioners," said Jeff West, Chairman of the Board of Gates Fire Commissioners.
This was a very big concern for almost 36,000 fire departments; they were relieved that their letters and lobbying paid off.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Monroe, January 2014