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Brookhaven Town considers adding Old Field to fire district

The Old Field Lighthouse, which has also served

The Old Field Lighthouse, which has also served as the village hall, is seen on Jan. 31, 2012. Credit: John Paraskevas

Brookhaven Town is considering expanding the boundaries of the Setauket Fire District to include the Village of Old Field.

Town officials at Thursday night’s board meeting set a July 20 public hearing on the matter, which, if approved, could ease the village’s financial burden when it comes to emergency services.

It would also cut property taxes for homeowners.

Old Field, which has roughly 1,000 residents, doesn’t have its own fire department and has been paying the Setauket district for roughly three decades.

Nearly 40 percent of Old Field’s annual $1,115,500 budget goes to paying the fire district.

The village is due to pay the district about $417,000 this year.

Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright sponsored the Thursday night resolution.

“It’s my understanding that the [Old Field] village mayor is the one who asked the town if we could look into this, and the fire district has expressed support for it,” Cartright said in an interview at the meeting. “I’m in favor of it.”

Nassau County law firm Farrell Fritz, P.C. has filed a map and report with the Brookhaven Town Clerk’s office describing the general terms of the proposed boundary extension, town officials said.

Old Field Village Mayor Michael Levine told Newsday in February that his municipality began considering the change in late 2015 when fire district officials proposed increasing the village’s annual contribution. District officials at that time wanted the village to hike its payment from $380,000 to more than $500,000, he said.

Instead, village officials have proposed joining the district, a move that previously required state approval. The State Legislature last year passed a bill allowing the change, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the bill last fall.

Old Field residents will see a new line for the Setauket Fire District on their tax bills next year if the change is completed and residents also should see a substantial village tax cut next year because the village budget will be reduced by about 40 percent.

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