Fire department loses $5M, faces deep funding cuts

Town officials believe the missing money is tied to an alleged scam that took place over many years

MAHOPAC, N.Y. — A town may cut its 2016 fire protection contract by 32 percent after a probe found up to $5 million missing from department funds. reported that several officials think the missing money from the Mahopac (N.Y.) Volunteer Fire Department is tied to an alleged scam that took place over many years.

The volunteer fire department is a private non-profit organization that contracts with the town to provide fire and ambulance services. It serves about 5,500 of the town’s 13,000 residents.

Fire officials have declined to disclose how the loss occurred. A state police investigation into the allegations of missing money continues.

Town supervisor Kenneth Schmitt, a MVFD life member, said the cut in funding would pay for the district’s operating expenses and eliminate money to buy new equipment.

"If the money hadn't been allegedly misappropriated or embezzled, they would have had enough cash to buy new apparatus," he said.

Residents said cutting the funding would disrupt the department’s need to maintain three firehouses and 11 pieces of apparatus.

Several municipalities have also severed ties with Buckshollow Emergency Equipment Corp., a fire and police equipment supplier headed by MVFD’s former treasurer Michael Klein. Klein resigned as treasurer on Sept. 25 as the probe deepened.

Calls to the department’s accountant were not returned.

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