Brighton Town Board approves West Brighton Fire Department dissolution

Posted at: 02/27/2013 7:08 AM
Updated at: 02/27/2013 10:36 PM
By: James Battaglia, Messenger Post

The Brighton Town Board voted in favor of a proposed dissolution plan for the West Brighton Fire District at its meeting Wednesday night.
Under the terms of the plan, the Henrietta Fire District would take over fire protection services in West Brighton, staffing the West Brighton Fire Department building on West Henrietta Road with two paid firefighters at least eight hours a day in addition to volunteer firefighters.
The West Brighton Fire Department building has been staffed 24 hours daily by the Rochester Fire Department since August, when the RFD took over fire protection coverage from the West Brighton Fire Department.
The proposed plan includes the establishment of a separate taxing zone within the newly expanded Henrietta Fire District encompassing the entirety of the West Brighton Fire District. The goal of the taxing zone is to allow financial and physical assets to continue to be used in West Brighton by the Henrietta Fire District without negatively impacting Henrietta or Brighton residents.
Henrietta Fire Chief Jim Comstock said the plan would not negatively affect fire coverage or increase taxes in Henrietta.
"It's very important we don't do anything that has a negative impact on the residents of the Town of Henrietta," Comstock said. "We certainly didn't want to have our taxpayers subsidizing the people of West Brighton."
"Their operations for financial purposes will be separate and continue to stand on their own," Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle said.
According to the plan, transferring fire coverage in West Brighton to the Henrietta Fire District is estimated to cost $200,000. That amount could be reduced if the Henrietta Fire District is able to use the West Brighton Fire Department's equipment.
Moehle said the town would apply for grant money that could fund a "significant portion" of the remaining costs.
"Anything we can do to lessen the impact on our taxpayers is something that were very interested in doing," Moehle said. "I can't say at this point exact dollar amounts that they will be willing to reimburse, but i'm certainly optimistic."
A public hearing on the plan, will be held on April 10.