NEW CASTLE, N.Y. - On Tuesday, New Castle Fire District No. 1 - which oversees the Chappaqua Fire Department - and the Millwood Fire District will each elect one fire commissioner to a five-year term that starts Jan. 1.
Both district's Board of Commissioners consists of five members who are each elected on five year terms, with one of the five slots opening for re-election every year. In Millwood, the slot opening this year is that currently held by Vice Chairman Angelo Indusi.
"There is only one slot open. One commissioner out of five is up for election every year," said Hala Makowska, chairman of the Millwood Fire District Board of Commissioners. "This year, it is Angelo Indusi's slot that is opening up."
According to Makowska, Indusi will be running uncontested to regain his spot on the board. Indusi, a 25 year resident of Millwood, was first elected as a fire commissioner in 2004. He is a volunteer firefighter with Ladder 41 in Ossining, President of Millwood Fireman's Benevolent Association, former Lieutenant and firefighter with Millwood Fire Company #2 and a member the Firemen's Association of the State of New York.
Incumbent Chris Weddle will also be running uncontensted in his bid for re-election on New Castle Fire District No. 1's board.
Both polls will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. Residents in Millwood's district can vote at Station No. 2 located at 366 Croton Dam Road along Route 134, and residents in New Castle's district can vote at the firehouse on Route 117 and Route 120. Those who did not register with the County Board of Elections before Nov. 20 are not eligible to vote.
The role of fire district commissioners is to establish a department budget, implement the tax levy, oversee the fire houses and negotiate employee contracts.
Fire districts came into being in the 1920s. When the towns and villages settled, residents needed fire protection so fire companies were created. As outlying areas of the town or village became more populated, residents created new fire companies.
As technology advanced, fire companies wanted to purchase trucks and hoses so they banded together to create fire districts, which under state law have the ability to collect a tax levy.
According to members of the Millwood Task Force, only nine residents cast a ballot in their district's 2010 election. The group is hoping for a better turnout in 2011 and for more citizen participation in general.
"Our numbers have shrunk a bit, and we certainly can use more members, and to encourage people to attend planning board and town board meetings, so that we can communicate at our meetings," said Dianne Kleinmann, chair of the Millwood Task Force.
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