The HF Village Budget proposal includes hiring part-time firefighters for the Honeoye Falls Fire Department due to lack of volunteers. File photo

Honeoye Falls Village Mayor and the village board of trustees and staff have been working diligently on the 2024/2025 Village Budget which is currently scheduled to be presented for vote on April 1, 2024 at the Village Hall, 5 East Street.

The full budget is posted on the village website ( and a hard copy is available for review should residents wish to stop by the Village Office during normal business hours.

In a recent letter to village residents and business owners, Milne stated that “This budget process has been extremely difficult. While most of the general budget lines remain flat, the Board of Trustees recently made the decision to hire (per-diem or part-time) firefighters to serve our community during the daytime hours of 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. This action was taken at the urgent request of the Honeoye Falls Fire Department membership and officers due to the lack of a volunteer base that can cover these daytime hours.”

“As Mayor, I cannot allow a potential tragedy to occur at a residence or a local business due to a lack of volunteers. While we cannot always guarantee volunteer support, we can help fill the gaps with these per-diem firefighters. The Village Board and I believe this is the right action to take to ensure coverage during these challenging coverage hours.”

Milne said that this obviously does not come without a financial cost. Hiring the per-diem firefighters at $30/hr. and having two firefighters on shift each day (Mon-Fri) 6 a.m. through 4 p.m. creates a significant budget shortfall of approximately $100,000. In order to offset that shortfall, without doing anything else, the Village tax rate would need to increase by 23%.

Milne said that due to the rather emergent nature of the Fire Department’s request, and in order to minimize the effect on residents and businesses in the village, as well as to encourage a full exchange of ideas with partners within the Mendon Fire Protection district and North Bloomfield Fire Protection district served by the Honeoye Falls Fire Department, the Village Board is taking the following actions to mitigate the budget shortfall as well as begin to address the underlying problem of the lack of volunteerism:

The Village Board will utilize $43,000 from unappropriated fund balance to help offset the budget shortfall; this will lower the projected tax rate increase of 23% to 9.6%.

The Village will schedule community meetings to openly discuss the concerns of lack of volunteerism and the impact it has on the fire service.

The Village will also work with a local marketing/communications specialist to prepare a brief presentation to review the needs and action initiated. This is critical as the issue or problem is NOT going to go away. So, while village officials are attempting to mitigate some of the negative financial impact of hiring firefighters, long term decisions also need to be made. These decisions need to include input from residents, business owners and contractual partners as well.

Milne said, “The Honeoye Falls Fire Department has a long history of incredible service to our community. We appreciate the service our volunteer firefighters have provided since 1885. But times do change, and the lack of volunteerism overall is an issue throughout the state and across the nation. Our residents and business owners need to know that when they call 911 and ask for help, that help is indeed on the way. The Village Board’s actions in hiring these per-diems help ensure that this will continue to happen, as it always has. There should be no arguing that and it is our duty to ensure that emergency services are available.”

“We certainly understand that this tax rate increase is difficult, and equally important, is that this does not solve the problem long-term. We are only ‘buying time’ to develop a long-term plan and gather input from all stake holders.”

Questions, input or comments may be sent to ( and village officials appreciate the community’s support and understanding.

©2024 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?

Skip to content