Bridgehampton Fire District Budget Released

The Bridgehampton Fire District will not have to raise taxes in 2017 because its board of fire commissioners has agreed to tap into a reserve fund and shift some expenses around. The commissioners adopted the budget, approximately $3.32 million, at their Sept. 14 meeting.

“The taxpayers need a break sometimes,” Bruce Dombkowski, the chairman of the commissioners, said at a commissioners meeting on Sept. 28. Dean Foster, another commissioner, described the move as “good stewardship” of taxpayer dollars.

The overall 2017 budget is $50,000 lower than this year’s, although the tax levy, $3,019,228, will stay the same. The state-imposed cap on tax increases this year was .56 percent, meaning the district could have raised it by about $16,900 without a special vote.

Among the changes in the budget are a $33,000 increase in the annual salary for a clerk typist, who will be full-time instead of part-time. There is also a $77,000 increase for renovations and about $175,500 for the first principal and interest payments for the debt on a fire truck the district bought this year with voter approval. These increases are offset by significant decreases in spending on equipment.

The budget also includes $300,000 for an ambulance to replace one that is 12 years old. The budget includes $280,000 for paid paramedics and emergency services personnel, the same amount as this year. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the firehouse, in anticipation of a  Nov. 4 deadline for filing it with Southampton Town.