Proposed retirement fund for volunteer firefighters on Election Day ballot in Hudson

HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A group of volunteer firefighters in Hudson are asking for the public’s support in a retirement fund.

The proposed fund was officially placed on the ballot to be voted on November 8. The fund would provide a big incentive for those who put their lives on the line at no cost.

“Pride is my pay,” firefighter Paul Beaumont said. “I do it for my community.”

Beaumont is one of 81 active volunteer firefighters in the city of Hudson. He’s been a member for 25 years. He’s also one of the many who stands strongly for Proposition 2.

If the proposition receives a large amount of votes, the firefighters will see retirement benefits.

“For those firefighters who have jobs that don’t have much time, and they have to work a lot and they can’t serve the fire service, this could be a good incentive financially to help them with their families and staying in the community,” Beaumont said.

But it comes with a cost.

If all 81 firefighters meet the criteria, the annual cost could be as much as $93,000 for the first five years, which is about 24 cents per $1,000 of assessed property values. After five years, when the cost of the pre-2017 service credit is paid off, the annual cost is expected to go down to about $48,000, which, in turn, is about 12.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property.

“Our ultimate goal is to not only recruit but to retain our current, active membership,” fire commissioner Timothy Hutchings said. “We want to make sure they have an incentive to stay.”

But not every volunteer firefighter may be qualified. They must be active for five years, and beginning in 2017, the fire commissioner said members will need to meet the requirements of the program to qualify for the incentive.

“It will impact the numbers that we’re putting on the streets,” Hutchings said. “We designed this program for literally a boots on the street program.”

Based on current call attendance records, less than 50 members will quality for the 2012 to 2016 benefits.

A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the last meeting before the proposition is voted on on Election Day.

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