One of the most common questions we receive from our fire district clients relates to the process required for a fire district to sell surplus fire equipment, vehicles or other property.  Earlier this month, the Governor signed a bill that amends the familiar provisions of Town Law § 176(23).

Generally, unless the district is trading in apparatus as part payment for a new apparatus, a fire district may sell or otherwise dispose of real or personal property no longer necessary for any of its purposes only after the voters of the district approve the sale through a proposition submitted at an annual or special election. Previously, the statute permitted a fire district to sell or otherwise dispose of surplus apparatus by resolution subject to permissive referendum if the property was valued at less than $50,000; and a fire district needed only a resolution approved by the board of fire commissioners as long as the value of the property did not exceed $10,000.  Effective immediately, those thresholds have been boosted to $100,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Unfortunately, this law became effective on November 14, 2016—right smack in the middle of the notice period provided for the 2016 annual elections.  No doubt there are a number of districts with propositions under consideration for the sale or disposition of surplus apparatus.  What should those districts do?  Depending on the value of property, you may wish to consult with counsel before taking any further action. 

** June 12, 2017: Please note that this information has been updated.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss how this amendment may impact your fire district, please feel free to contact Peter Weishaar at pweishaar@mccmlaw.com or 585.512.3542. Mr. Weishaar represents several fire districts in the Greater Rochester Area. His municipal practice also includes the ongoing representation of planning and zoning boards, as well as the representation of municipalities as special counsel in litigation matters.

 

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.