Governor Cuomo Signs Gunther Legislation Providing Mandate Relief to Fire Districts

Albany, NY – Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D, I, WF -Forestburgh) today announced that Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation she sponsored providing relief to fire districts and volunteer, fire-based emergency medical service (EMS) providers.

Currently, fire districts with an annual revenue exceeding $200,000 are required by law to be audited by an independent certified public accountant. These audits can cost thousands of dollars – a cost that is passed on to taxpayers. The new law will raise the threshold to $300,000 (A.1629/Chap. 470).

“The rising cost of providing fire protection has put an increasing number of districts over the revenue threshold,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “This small change will save taxpayers thousands of dollars in the long run.”

The second bill signed by Governor Cuomo waives the registration fee for volunteer, fired-based EMS who perform blood glucose testing (A.6121/Chap.479). New York State Public Health Law requires EMS agencies providing this service to hold a limited service laboratory registration, at a cost of $200 biennially.

“Volunteer, fire-based EMS providers, by law, cannot collect reimbursement from insurance companies or Medicare for any services they provide, including care and transportation,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “While this change only provides a small measure of relief, it’s the right thing to do, and I’m grateful to Governor Cuomo for signing this into law.”

“On behalf of all of our state’s volunteer fire fighters, I would like to thank Assemblywoman Gunther for championing the glucometry fee exemption bill in the Assembly,” said Firemen’s Association of the State of New York President James Burns. “Especially in smaller and rural fire departments, unfunded mandates of this nature eat away at limited annual budget dollars. We are very grateful that Governor Cuomo has recognized our position that volunteer fire department-based ambulance services should be exempt from this biennial fee,”