Members of a volunteer fire department that has valiantly served the Gerritsen Beach neighborhood in Brooklyn for nearly nine decades are fuming after the FDNY socked it with a $520 bill to cover the cost of an annual inspection of the group’s meeting hall and training facility on Seba Avenue.
“I don’t understand why volunteer fire departments are being penalized,” said John Czap, chief of the 25-member Gerritsen Beach Volunteer Fire Department, one of only nine such units in the city. “Most of us are running on shoestring budgets, and our department just can’t afford $520.”
The bill was sent by the Fire Department after the City Council revised the city fire code a year-and-a-half ago that had exempted many nonprofit groups, including the volunteer fire departments, from having to pay FDNY fees for permits, inspections and other services.
So the FDNY budget has been so severely mismanaged that they are now charging non-profits for fire inspections, including volunteer fire departments and volunteer ambulance corps. There’s something about that which seems relatively desperate along the same lines of charging voluntary hospitals for dispatch services.
So this makes me wonder, when the city has a crisis and FDNY is in a backlog or inundated like they were two weeks ago, are they now going to charge the VFDs and VACs for dispatch services when they provide mutual aid to the city? Sure you may say “Oh that would never happen!” Yet here is FDNY charging VFD‘s for a fire inspection. Not only could it happen, but it WILL happen if they continue down this monopolistic path they are currently being allowed to travel on.
Is FDNY so desperate for revenue that they have decided to take it out of those New Yorkers who are the most prepared in their communities? Does this make ANY sense to anyone else?
It makes about as much sense to do that as it does to fire an EMS Chief because Sanitation couldn’t get their plows on the street and NYC OEM couldn’t put together the words “Snow” plus “Emergency” to form a sentence.
So I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised.