News

Communicable Disease Plan Components to comply with NYS-DOL Section 27-c Requirements

January 19th, 2021

Open this document and use as a guidance document for your Communicable Disease response and continuity of operations plan as required of all public employers by the recent addition of Section 27-c  of Labor Law.

COMMUNICABLE DISEASE PLAN COMPONENTS

LINK TO DOL SECTION 27-C CHAPTER AMENDMENTS
http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/navigate.cgi?NVDTO:

The LGS-1 Replaces the Current Records Management Schedule

January 19th, 2021

State Secretary/Treasurer Joyce Petkus has provided us with the new LGS-1 records management schedule with section headings particularly for Fire Districts.  Also is a model resolution to be adopted by the Board prior to using the new schedule.  This should be a great help to the records retention managers for each fire district.

Organized by Item
https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/LGS-1-Featureing-FDs-item-list.pdf

Organized by Section Headings
https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/LGS-1-excerpt-for-Fire-Districts_organized-by-section-headings.pdf
Model Resolution
https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/lgs-1_model_resolution_form.pdf

Fire Districts had until January 1 2021 to adopt the new schedule by resolution of the Board, don’t use the new schedule until it is officially adopted.

NYSVFB Cancer Coverage Offered to Exterior Firefighters

January 19th, 2021

The definition of Eligible Volunteer Firefighter has been amended to:

  1. a volunteer interior firefighter who:
  2. has five or more years of faithful and actual service in the protection of life and property from fire subsequent to having successfully passed a physical examination which failed to reveal any evidence of Cancer; and
  3. has submitted or is able to submit proof of five years of interior firefighting service by providing verification that he/she has passed at least five yearly certified mask fitting tests as set forth in 29 CFR 1910.134 or the applicable National Fire Protection Association Standards for Mask Fit testing or, for firefighters who entered fire service prior to January first, two thousand twenty documentation identified by the office of fire prevention and control in rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to subdivision seven of this section which shall include, but not be limited to, training or certification records, health care provider records, internal fire department records, or any combination of official documents capable of evidencing that the firefighter meets the afore mentioned requirements

NEW: Exterior Firefighter Definition

  1. a volunteer exterior firefighter who has five or more years of faithful and actual service in the protection of life and property from fire subsequent to having successfully passed a physical examination which failed to reveal any evidence of Cancer.

This definition does not include any firefighter who is provided paid firefighter benefits under the New York State Volunteer Firefighter Enhanced Cancer Disability Benefits Act.

The Coverages are here, copy and Paste into your browser:

https://afdca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Interior-Exterior-FF-Coverage-NY.pdf

 

LOSAP – Preparing for 2021

January 2nd, 2021

Anyone who works (or volunteers) in local government understands lines and boundaries. One side of the street pays taxes and receives services from one municipality, and the other side, a different one. Ultimately, at 12:00 AM on January 1, 2021 we cross a boundary into a new calendar year. This means many things – some practical and literal, and some that are just plain emotional. The challenges we all faced in 2020, and continue to face today, will persist into 2021. However, the resilience and perseverance we all developed in 2020 will as well and, for that, we’re encouraged about 2021.

As we look forward to the reporting that must be done in 2021, we thought it would be helpful to send a reminder regarding several year-end items, which include some updates and changes:

  1. At Firefly Admin, we call the steps that the municipality and fire department must take at the conclusion of each calendar year the Census Update Process. In early December, our clients were sent the instructions, forms, and roster by email and ShareFile. If you did not receive it, please contact us immediately.
  2. Although this is a good practice for all years, for the 2020 points year specifically, we recommend that the municipality request that the list of points earned by volunteers show the detail by category. In particular, if your municipality adopted a resolution to award additional points during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for the municipality to review the COVID-19 points to ensure they were awarded consistently with the resolution adopted by the Board. These additional COVID-19 points should be awarded uniformly to all active members, and only those who were active members during the municipally-designated COVID-19 period.
  3. If your municipality has not yet adopted a resolution regarding COVID-19 points, it has until April 30, 2021 to do so. We have a lot of information on our blog, which you can reference here: www.fireflyadmin.com/blog/category/covid19/
  4. The IRS has made changes to the 1099-MISC form, and released a new form called the 1099-NEC. We engaged an attorney with specific expertise with the Internal Revenue Code and tax forms, and we’ve confirmed that the 1099-MISC remains the most appropriate form to report LOSAP payments. By law, these forms must be postmarked by January 31, 2021, which means your participants will receive them by the end of January or possibly early February. If a participant needs their tax form sooner, please contact our office and we’ll see what options are available to provide the form earlier.
  5. Payments from a New York State LOSAP are largely exempt from New York State income tax, but some exclusions apply! The taxpayer must be over age 59 ½ and the payment must not be a lump sum. Read more at www.fireflyadmin.com/NYSTAX/.

The State recently released a bulletin regarding the reporting of fiduciary activities as required by GASB Statement 84. This changes how LOSAP assets are reported on the Annual Update Document (AUD). On page 7 of the bulletin is a paragraph about the LOSAP assets, and it includes a sentence that requires future LOSAP payable amounts that meet the GASB’s definition of a liability to be reported a certain way. Your treasurer should be proactive about reaching out to your external auditor or the Office of the State Comptroller for guidance regarding the implementation of these changes in reporting the LOSAP assets and payables. You can read the bulletin here: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/files/local-government/publications/pdf/accounting-and-financial-reporting-for-fiduciary-activities-gasb-84.pdf

[Thanks to Firefly Admin one of our business partners for providing this information to our fire districts]

Fire District – LGS-1 Records Retention Schedule

December 16th, 2020

We want to thank Secretary/Treasurer Joyce Petkus for sharing the new LGS-1 records management schedule especially for fire districts with us.  Attached below are two different formats of the same document one by item the other by section headings.  The LGS-1 is to be adopted by the Board of Fire Commissioners by January 1.  Also attached is a model resolution.

LGS-1 Featureing FDs item list

LGS-1 excerpt for Fire Districts_organized by section headings

lgs-1_model_resolution_form

 

Reminder for the Enhanced Cancer Benefit Program – Documents Due

December 4th, 2020

Click on this link to open the document:

Vol FF Enhanced Cancer Benefit Program 12_3_20 TDG

The 2021 Officers of the Capital Area Association

November 24th, 2020

Association of Fire Districts of the Capital Area 2021 Officers

President:                Tom Rinaldi, Commissioner Stillwater/Saratoga

1st VP:                      Jill Wiseman, Commissioner West Glenville/Schenectady

2nd VP:                     John Meehan, Commissioner West Crescent/Saratoga

All Directors have been nominated to retain their positions for another term:

Directors: Les Bonesteel Commissioner Burnt Hills/Saratoga, Tom Wood Commissioner Northumberland/Saratoga, Joyce Petkus Treasurer Greenfield/Saratoga, Ed Woehrle Commissioner Niskayuna #1/Schenectady and Mike Podolec Commissioner West Glenville/Schenectady

Secretary Treasurer    Tony Hill

Sargent at Arms     Tom Woods, Commissioner Northumberland Fire District/Saratoga County

Chaplain     Fred Richards, Commissioner Harmony Corners/Saratoga County

Legislation Suggested by Commissioner Signed by the Governor

November 24th, 2020

Audit Bill Signed, Suggested by Commissioner Truman Williams of the Trenton Joint Fire District in Oneida Co.

The Audit limit bill introduced this legislative session has been signed by the governor. This is effective immediately. So if you are over $300,000 for 2020 you will not have to have an audit in 2021 or any year after that as long as you stay under $400,000. Thank you to Assemblyman Smulle for his initial meeting and Poland Fire Districts; Bill Inman for writing up the case study. Thank you, Assemblywomen Buttenshoen and Senator Joe Griffo for their assistance with this. A huge shout out to Past President of Fire Districts Tom Rinaldi and the Fire District lobbyist Todd Vandervort for pushing this across the finish line.

What is the Civil Service Status of a Secretary to the Fire District??

September 20th, 2020

Section 35 of the Civil Service Law provides in relevant part, as follows:

“The unclassified service shall comprise the following:

(c) all officers and employees of the state legislature, and all officers and employees of any other legislative body whose principal functions and duties are directly related to the performance of the legislative functions of such body.”

Under this standard, if fire district boards of commissioners are considered legislative bodies, the fire district secretary, as a fire district officer whose principal duties relate closely to the commissioners’ functions, would fall within the unclassified service.  The question then becomes whether the board of fire commissioners is to be considered a legislative body for purposes of the Civil Service Law.

It is well established that the unclassified service is not limited to employees of the State Legislature, but includes employees of the legislative bodies of civil subdivisions of the State and Fire districts are considered political subdivisions of the State.  Fire Districts fall under the category of “district corporation” which is defined in the following way:

A ‘district corporation’ includes any territorial division of the state, other than a municipal corporation, heretofore or hereafter established by law which possesses the power to contract indebtedness and levy taxes or benefit assessments upon real estate or to require the levy of such taxes or assessments, whether or not such territorial division is expressly declared to be a body corporate and politic by the statute creating or authorizing the creation of such territorial division.

Fire district commissioners are elected by residents of the fire district pursuant to section 175 of the Town Law. The powers and duties of a fire district fire commissioners are set forth in section 176 of the Town Law. Among these is the power to organize, operate, maintain and equip fire companies; to adopt rules governing all fire companies and fire departments throughout the district, and prescribing the duties of the members; to enforce discipline and provide for public drills, parades, funerals, inspections and reviews of the fire district fire department; and to audit all claims against the fire district.  Thus, the commissioners are the sole governing body of the fire district, responsible for the determination of fire department policy. They exercise their powers separately and discretely from the town board. In our opinion, these functions make the board of fire commissioners a legislative body for purposes of section 35 of the Civil Service Law.

The fire district secretary actively participates in the commissioner’s legislative functions, thus in the opinion of the NYS Attorney General, the secretary’s principal functions and duties relate to the legislative functions of the commissioners, placing the secretary in the unclassified service within the meaning of section 35 of the Civil Service Law.

Accordingly, we conclude that fire district secretary is a member of the unclassified civil service.

Tax Cap Below 2% for 2021

July 17th, 2020

Property tax levy growth for local governments with fiscal years closing Dec. 31 will be capped at 1.56 percent for 2021, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. This figure affects tax cap calculations for all counties, towns, fire districts, 44 cities and 11 villages.

“The pandemic and the fiscal uncertainties municipalities are facing add to the challenge of adhering to the tax cap,” DiNapoli said. “At the same time the levy growth rate is dropping, both revenues and spending could deviate significantly from what was planned. Local governments must closely monitor their budgets to ensure they are balanced and that they have cash on hand.”

The tax cap, which first applied to local governments and school districts in 2012, limits annual tax levy increases to the lesser of the rate of inflation or 2 percent with certain exceptions, including a provision that allows municipalities to override it. The cap is just one of many fiscal pressures facing local governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 1.56 percent allowable levy growth factor for the 2021 fiscal year is the first-time municipalities with a fiscal year ending on Dec. 31 had their levy growth capped at less than 2 percent in three years. Levy growth was capped at 2 percent for these municipalities due to inflation above 2 percent in recent years.

The allowable growth factor for 2021 will be 1.0156 for fire districts.

Looking for Members to Return

June 21st, 2020
  • The Capital Area can appreciate that it has been a very distracting year and we would like to remind some of our usual members that their dues have not been sent in yet; East Glenville #3, Elsmere, Glenville #5, Halfmoon FD #1, Hoosic Falls Joint Fire Dist., Perth, & Rotterdam #6.  We would like to see you join for 2020.

The CoVid LOSAP Amendment has been Signed Into Law

June 21st, 2020
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
 
Section 1 amends General Municipal Law § 217 relation to Length of
Service Award Programs ("LOSAP's") in order to address the impact of the
COVID 19 crisis on the ability of volunteer firefighter participants to
achieve performance points under the program point system in light of
changes to emergency response protocols and the cancellation of activ-
ities for which points can be earned.
 
Adds a new subparagraph (q) to address developments in how volunteer
fire departments respond to emergencies in order to limit certain
responses for reasons of safety and efficiency.  Makes subsequent amend-
ments to GML 219-e and 219-m, to allow volunteer ambulance workers to
achieve performance points under the program.