COURT DECISION IMPORTANT TO FIREMEN.
A court derision of importance to every active fireman, both paid and volunteer, and to every exempt fireman of New York State, was handed down on November 21 by the Appellate Division at Rochester. The decision affirms, with costs, the judgment obtained in the lower courts against the Exempt Firemen’s Association of Little Falls, in the action against the City of Little Falls. The association sought to obtain the foreign insurance tax moneys which have been paid into the city treasury for several years and which amount to $4,203.03. The exempts held that under the statute the money should come to that association instead of going to the members of the paid department, created some years ago, or instead of being used for any purpose. The trouble began shortly after the paid department in Little Falls was organized. For the first few years the city used the foreign insurance tax money for paying the running expenses of the department, but after a while ceased the practice and the money has been accumulating ever since, awaiting decision by the courts as to what should be done with it. After forming an exempt association, the volunteers of the five old companies made a claim for the insurance tax which they had received regularly while the volunteer companies were in existence. The city refused to pay the money. The exempts then had two bills passed at different times through the legislature, permitting them to claim the money, but the bills were vetoed by the common council. Then a legal action was begun. The judges gave a decision which did not settle the matter one way or the other. Their opinion was simply that the certificate of incorporation of the exempt organization was wrong. Then the certificate was changed so as to broaden the organization and make it include not only members, but all of the exempt firemen of the city. The exempts carried the case to the appellate division. The decision of that tribunal, just rendered, sustains the judgment of the lower court, and decides that the exempts have no right to the money. The opinion, however, does not state what shall be done with the funds, the disposal of which is left with the aldermen. Under the statute, it is held that the aldermen cannot use the money to pay running expenses of the department, but must use it in such manner that the department members will receive individual benefits therefrom.