Posted at: 02/20/2013 4:29 PM
Updated at: 02/20/2013 6:25 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri
The West Brighton Fire Department is currently run by the Rochester Fire Department. Rochester firefighters have been in control there since December, but it is a temporary contract. The move to Henrietta would be permanent.
Will response times change? How does this impact the taxpayers in both Henrietta and West Brighton?
Both the town of Brighton and the Henrietta Fire District say this move will save money without having a negative impact on anyone's fire service.
Here is the planned proposal: The Henrietta Fire District will expand north to include all of West Brighton. To cover the expansion, they will add two full time fire fighters to the new larger department. They will be stationed at West Brighton. The Henrietta fire chief says between them and the volunteers, both departments say the area will be fully covered.
News10NBC's Amanda Ciavarri, said, “Will the service to Henrietta change in all of this?”
Chief Jim Comstock, Henrietta Fire Department, "Really, they should see no change and if anything it will be enhanced a little bit because we will have an additional station and an additional apparatus, also some additional man power.”
The Henrietta Fire Chief says the two new full time positions will be paid with money brought in by the West Brighton taxpayers.
Chief Comstock said, “It was important for us when we went into this that we were able to maintain the high level of service that we do to the taxpayers of Henrietta. Also, with no additional cost of the taxpayers of Henrietta, we felt that was very important.”
So what about the West Brighton taxpayers?
Chief Comstock said, “The West Brighton taxpayers may see a small reduction in their tax rate. The last time we did the numbers they are actually paid a little bit of a higher rate than the Henrietta tax payers."
So how will this proposal impact response times?
Chief Comstock said, “There are a lot of areas there that we cover now depending on which side of the road it is on, so there shouldn't be a big difference there. There are some areas in West Brighton that are closer to a Henrietta station than they are to the West Brighton so that should improve response times that way.”
West Brighton is currently run by Rochester firefighters taken from the South Avenue fire station.
Here's what the switch to Henrietta could mean for Rochester. It would mean a total of 16 firefighters would be moved from West Brighton back to the station on South Ave. That means four more firefighters each shift will be there to help cover the area.
Next Wednesday, the Brighton Town Board is expected to approve the proposal. After that, there will have to be a public hearing on it. And also, the West Brighton Fire Department and town are in court battling over who really owns the property. So there will have to be a decision in that case before anything can move forward. News10NBC spoke with the town and they say they are going to try and push forward as quickly as possible and hope it will be done sometime this year.