Report on New York Relief Fund
The Fire Commissioner of New York has made his annual report to the Mayor on the status of the Fire Department Relief Fund, for the year 1925.
The report, compiled by Deputy Chief Peter J. Quigley, in charge of the Division of Pensions, discloses that for the year ended December 31. 1925, there were on the pension rolls of the department 3,047 annuitants at an annual charge of $2,621,226.54, a net increase over 1924 of $258,452.83.
On December 31, 1924, there were 2,880 annuitants on the rolls at an annual charge of $2,362,773.71.
During the past year, 195 members of the uniformed force were retired on pensions and 81 widows, guardians and dependents of members of the department were added, making the total 276 annuitants.
The year closed with the pension rolls showing 1,963 retired officers and firemen, 11 relieved members, 1,073 widows, guardians or dependents—a total of 3,047.
Of the 1,073 widows on the roster of pensioners, 221 of them are receiving $600 a year pension, in the discretion of the Fire Commissioner. The usual annual pension to a widow is $300, but the Fire Commissioner, by reason of the letter of the law’, rather than by its intention, may in his wisdom and “big heartedness” grant a widow $600 a year. Of course there are other widows receiving $1,000 a year, but these are the survivors of members killed in the line of duty—the $1,000 pension being the maximum allowed under the statutes.
The report further shows that during the year 1925, the total receipts were $2,555,558.13, to which the largest contributing factor was $1,536,953.97 in city revenue bonds, in the form of certificates of indebtedness. Other forms of receipts were $676,250 from combustible licenses fees; $2,712 in contributions by admiring or appreciative citizens; $2,606 in penalties imposed by the courts; $286,351 from foreign fire insurance tax; $32,194 in interest on investments; $2,411 in fines imposed on delinquent members of the department; $10,169 exacted from members taking leaves of absence.
The fund has lost certain revenue in recent years due to legislation, as for instance: liquor licenses, when liquor was a legally taxable commodity brought in thousands of dollars a year to the firemen’s pension fund, but no more. From 1871 to 1923 the liquor license fees paid to the firemen’s pension fund amounted to $9,073,757. but since 1923, nothing. Last year the fines dropped from $2,628 in 1924 to $2,403; the donations dropped from $2,989 to $2,712; penalties dropped from $3,248 to $2,529; foreign fire insurance tax from $296,889 to $286,351; special leaves increased however from .$8,420 to $9,921.
The Division of Combustibles made a substantial increase in revenues turned into the fund. In 1924 the fund received front this source of revenue, $534,811; in 1925 it received $619,865, an increase of $236,478.
On the other hand the fund tapped the city treasury more heavily in 1925 than it did in 1924. Last year it received front the City Comptroller’s office in revenue bonds $1,536,953, an increase of $236,475.
From the time the fund was estiblished in 1871 to the end of December 1925, the recapitulation shows receipts of $32,476,484 and disbursements of $31,627,336, leaving a balance of $849,147.
The New York Fire Department Life Insurance Fund, a separate account, shows a balance of $65,182.77 at the end of 1925. The balance on hand at the end of 1924 was $79,422, the receipts during the year were $199,763, making the total $279,185. The disbursements were $214,003, leaving a balance of $65,182.77.
New Life Nets for Allentown, Pa.—Two new life nets have been purchased for Allentown, Pa. The nets are nine feet in diameter and will be placed in two fire stations.
Galesburg, Ill., Plans for Pension Fund—Plans are being made in Galesburg, Ill., for the establishment of a pension fund. According to the mayor the state law requires the establishment of such a fund. All firemen who have been in the service twenty years or more are eligible to receive a pension.