REPORT CARD for BREWSTER FIRE – 0.5% Municipal Income Tax 

In May of 2019 Brewster voters approved an eight-year 0.5% municipal income tax to supplement the operations of the Brewster Fire Department.  The estimated revenue that will be received by this Income Tax over the eight-year period totals $ 3.2 million, or $ 400,000 in revenue each year.   The Issue was placed on the May Ballot by Village Council to enable Brewster to make needed improvements at the Village Fire Department. These improvements as planned in May of 2019 include four steps.  

The First Step is driven by the following: “At the scene of a fire, firefighters are exposed to fumes and debris containing several known or suspected carcinogens, including benzene, asbestos, arsenic, formaldehyde, and polycyclic hydrocarbons. Such chemicals are found in treated wood, upholstery, interior finishes and plastics.” With the health of your firefighters at risk, the first step is to provide adequate facilities that provide the removal of these toxins from the firefighters and their firefighting gear.  This will include dedicated, separated areas for the removal of the gear worn at fires, showers for the use of personnel returning from a fire, and a gear washing room.  The addition of much needed vehicle bays is also a part of this planned expansion.  In July Village officials, assisted by the Fire Chief, began working with an architect to design an expansion of the current Fire Building.  The architect’s estimate to provide the above listed facilities places this expansion at $ 1.5 million.  As part of their review, Village Officials also explored the construction of a new Fire Station, but estimates have placed the cost of a new Fire Building at $ 2.6 million located on 3 acres of land that the Village would need to purchase.  As this $ 2.6 million plus would eat up most of the revenue from the new tax and derail Council’s May Ballot promise to provide additional EMS hours and vehicle and equipment upgrades, the focus has returned to that of expanding the current building.  Architectural Plans for the expansion were recently completed.  Awarding of a construction contract should occur in January 2020 and the groundbreaking for construction should take place in March or April of 2020.  It is estimated that a $ 1.5 million construction loan for eight years will have a price tag of around $ 213,000 for each year. 

In 2021, as full funding from the income tax becomes available, a planned Step Two will lead to the planned expansion of Brewster Paramedic services.  Currently, one paid Paramedic is on duty 12 hours a day 7 days a week.  This Paramedic responds daily between 6 am and 6 pm to each emergency medical call with the required assistance of one or two volunteer firefighters.  Plans are to expand the current 12 hours a day to a full EMS coverage of 24 hours a day 7 days a week to provide a paid Paramedic around the clock to the Brewster area.    These additional hours have an  estimated $ 111,000 annual price tag to fund the additional 84 hours per week and will cover wages for the additional part time Paramedic hours as well as any compensation for the volunteer firefighters assisting on each Call. 

Also, in 2021 Steps Three and Four are planned to update and replace Fire and EMS vehicles and equipment and the ongoing maintenance of those items   The new Income Tax revenue will permit Brewster to address the replacement of dated vehicles and equipment and to acquire the latest technology available to protect the public and firefighters.  (Cost examples: the cost of a new Fire Pumper starts at $ 500,000 and a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) worn by firefighters at a fire have a price tag of $ 7100 per unit)  In addition, each vehicle and each piece of equipment requires mandated maintenance performed by specialized technicians.  The planned budget for replacement is $ 61,000 per year and for maintenance is $ 15,000 per year.

            Fire building improvements including financing       = $ 1,704,802                                        

            Paid Paramedic on duty 24/7/365                            = $    889,234

            Funds for new vehicles and equipment                    = $    488,877

            Funding of vehicles & equipment maintenance        = $    117,087

                                                                                 TOTAL  = $ 3,200,000 

*Additional Expenditures from any of these will directly affect the available funds in one or all the others; For example: if $ 2 million were to be spent for the Fire building improvements the other items will be reduced accordingly.

   - Mike Schwab