The Village of North Hills agreed last Wednesday to secure fire protection from another source after the Albertson Fire Department said in a letter it would not renew a contract for next year.
Officials said the Village Board received a letter from the Albertson Fire Company on Feb. 10, saying the company did not want to renew the village’s contract for the coming year, from June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2017.
The letter said the company would serve the area until the village could secure new fire protection, but would charge on a pro-rated basis, not their standard yearly fee, officials said.
“I was very disturbed with this,” Mayor Marvin Natiss said. “We’re interested in protecting our village residents and you’re telling me that you don’t want to renew?”
Natiss said he sent Albertson Fire Chief Jason Lasek a letter and asked the Village Attorney Thomas Levin to contact the Albertson Fire Company attorney, but no emails have been returned so far.
Efforts to reach Lasek and Daniel Giordano, chairman of the Albertson Fire District’s Board of Trustees, were unavailing.
Village Administrator Marianne Lobaccaro said she spoke with a company board member, who explained how the payment rates have changed, but did not provide other information regarding the decision or letter.
Deputy Mayor Dennis Sgambati said it seems the fire company has made up their mind.
“Isn’t it evident that if he doesn’t return your calls or Marianne’s calls, that they don’t want to do it, they don’t want to be our fire protection?” he said.
“But that’s not the problem, we told them we would pay them based on their rate from last year and now they don’t want it anymore,” Natiss said. “It makes no sense to me. I don’t know who is in charge there but he certainly doesn’t return my calls or emails so maybe he doesn’t want to talk to me.”
Sgambati said the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department now has a closer location on Plandome Road, which could better serve North Hills and reduce response times.
The village entered a contract with the Albertson Fire Company and the Roslyn Fire Company “for the safety of certain portions of our village” that are farther from Manhasset-Lakeville fire houses, Natiss said.
“Maybe we should be speaking to Manhasset Lakeville and tell them that we want their service faster,” Natiss said at the board meeting. “Get Manhasset-Lakeville, and let’s find out what has to be done.”