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Makowski Runs for Purchase Fire Commissioner

HARRISON, N.Y. - Purchase Fire District Commissioner Robert Makowski is running uncontested in his reelection bid for the position to be decided Tuesday.

Makowski has been a commissioner in Purchase since 1989 and is one of five in the district. His five-year term is the only one up for reelection this year in his district.

The former fire chief has a long history with the Purchase Fire Department and said he wasn't going anywhere.

"I've been a volunteer for 41 years, and I simply like doing the job," Makoswki said.

Fire districts differ from fire departments in that districts have the authority to set their own budget and to levy taxes, while departments are funded through a municipality's budget, said Robert Broderick, a Hartsdale resident, who represents Region 7 of the state's Association of Fire Districts.

The fire district commissioners' role is to establish a department's budget, implement the tax levy, oversee the fire houses and negotiate employee contracts, Broderick said.

Fire districts came into being in the 1920s. When the towns and villages settled, residents needed fire protection so fire companies were created.

"In those days, a horse and carriage would carry a water pump to a fire, or residents would pass buckets of water to douse a fire," Brockerick said.

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.

"Some towns and villages did it that way, but other fire companies were absorbed into the town or village government," Broderick said. "Some communities have town fire department and a fire district."

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