For the members of the Allingtown Fire Department, the past year has been full of fear.
“The men were worried about their pay, worried about if they're going to have a job, and they're worried if we're going to have a fire department, a fire district,” said West Haven Fire Allingtown Chief Peter Massaro.
The fire district had been operating independently for a century. But in the past few years, its financial troubles started to grow. The district has a $750,000 general fund deficit and a $17.8 million unfunded pension liability. It needed an increased budget.
“The residents kept voting the budget down, so the Chief, the Deputy Chief came to me,” said Mayor John Picard.
The fire district and the City struck a deal where the district would be absorbed by the city, essentially becoming another branch of the West Haven Fire Department. The Mayor says because it will be run with other city services, there will be a cost savings.
“I think on the whole you're going to see the West Haven Fire Department, as they attach the Allingtown name is going to operate very efficiently,” said Picard.
For some, the city running the fire district is bittersweet. It was financially needed, but it does take the district out of the hands of the people of Allingtown.
“The people gave it up. They don't have a say anymore. The city is going to be taking care of that,” said Margaret Krzeminski, who sits on the Allingtown Board of Fire Commissioners.
But the bottom line is that Allingtown residents will still have a fire department close by.
“The big main thing is that we'll still have a fire department that's going to exist. The people are still going to get top rate care and protection,” said Chief Massaro.