COXSACKIE — The Coxsackie Village Board unanimously approved a resolution Monday allowing assistant fire chiefs to fill the gas tanks of their personal vehicles once a month to use them when they respond to emergency calls.
The Coxsackie fire chief drives a vehicle provided by the village but the assistant chiefs use their own cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks when they respond to fire calls.
The village board wanted to compensate them in some way, Mayor Mark Evans said Tuesday.
“Our chiefs do a pretty fair number of miles on their vehicles. We thought it would be appropriate to compensate them,” Evans said. “The liability towards using your own vehicle is tremendous.”
While Evans didn’t have an exact amount of miles chiefs log each month on hand, but he estimated that the assistant chiefs would rack up more than $100 worth of fill-ups per month. The village gas price is $2.20 per gallon because gasoline is obtained under state contract.
“It’s really kind of small potatoes,” Evans said. “But it’s a good step for us.”
The village budget contains a line item for fuel. Village fire chiefs use a programmed chip key at the pump when they fill up and access will be limited, Evans said.
“We’re just going to assign fire chiefs a key,” he said. “We’re giving them one tank of gas a month.”
The fire chiefs do not put in for mileage and village trustees have not collected mileage from them for as long as the fueling system has existed. In addition, Evans said, giving the chiefs a chance to fill up limits time spent on paperwork.
“I like to avoid creating paperwork if I can because it doesn’t go anywhere,” Evans said.
The Cairo Fire Department doesn’t have a fuel reimbursement policy, but Chief Ray Feml would be in favor of one.
“The chiefs do a little bit more miles than the average members,” Feml said. “I think it would be good, as long as it’s legal.”
The Catskill Fire Company has not explored the possibility of reimbursing its chiefs with village fuel. All the chiefs drive their own vehicles to calls, Chief Patrick McCulloch said. McCulloch said he prefers having the chiefs log and submit mileage forms.
“The mileage always starts from the firehouse,” he said.
The number of miles the chiefs log each quarter depends on the number of calls they answer, McCulloch said. In one quarter last year, the chiefs logged more than 300 miles.
“It all depends on our call volume,” McCulloch said.
To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM.