Oceanside Fire Commissioner Biagio Rosano is running unopposed in his re-election bid to serve an additional five-year term on Oceanside Fire District’s five-member Board of Commissioners. He will be the only commissioner on the ballot for the Dec. 12 elections.
Rosano has been a commissioner since 2012 and, he said, a lot has changed since then. “We’ve done repairs to a lot of the buildings, gotten grants to re-do some of the bathrooms,” and he added that the district is in the midst of testing a new strategy to keep its vehicles in service longer to save money.
“Instead of purchasing trucks,” Rosano said, “we’re trying to save up the money to refurbish them.” The effort, he said, could potentially extend the lifespan of the vehicles by up to five years. Each new truck costs between $500,000 and $600,000, while repairs cost about $85,000. “This year is the first time we’re doing that,” Rosano said.
He also said that the refurbishing strategy was part of a broader belt-tightening effort needed to keep up with rising expenses such as utilities and workman’s compensation. “We’re trying to reposition ourselves to pay those expenses without raising taxes,” he said.
He also said that he was excited about the new “burn building” under construction in Oceanside. “There’s an academy in Bethpage,” he said, where Oceanside firefighters can go to practice their skills. But they are only allowed to attend once a year. With the new burn building, he said, “[the firefighters] can train all year round.”
In terms of recruitment, Rosano has some ideas. “We do a lot of training at the schools,” he said, “so we can teach the kids what to do in an emergency. We get our name out there in the high school like that.” The problem, he said, wasn’t getting the kids to sign up, but to stay on, especially the young high school recruits who go off to college.
It would be helpful, he said, “if the states passed a law so that students who volunteered their time in the fire district could have their student loans partially forgiven.” He noted that volunteers are already able to attend Nassau County Community College for free.
Rosano said that he is looking forward to staying on as a commissioner, and referred to his fellow board members as “a good group of guys with very diverse backgrounds.” He added, “It’s a great team, and we communicate well.”