Columbia County is looking to transfer savings in workers’ compensation to help local fire departments pay for insurance they’ll be required to provide to volunteer firefighters beginning next year.
The state passed a law Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed last October that requires fire departments to offer insurance to volunteer firefighters with five years’ of interior experience for various types of cancer, including lung, prostate, breast, lymphatic, hematological, digestive, urinary, neurological, cancer of the reproductive systems, or melanoma.
The law will take effect January 1.
The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York put together an insurance program for fire departments across the state, partnering with Hartford Insurance Company, which will offer insurance for certain types of cancer for $225 a year per eligible firefighter.
“These costs would push a lot of the local fire departments and towns over their tax cap,” said Columbia County Treasurer PJ Keeler. “It’s another unfunded mandate. Fire departments have enough problems with recruiting and retaining peopl
Pictured: Firefighters from New York and Massachusetts work to put out a blaze at the Congregational Church in Canaan.