MAHOPAC, N.Y.-- The Town Board unanimously passed their 2018 budget at the Nov. 15 meeting, but the $44.2 million spending package, which calls for a zero percent increase in the tax rate, did not include a $200,000 contract increase requested by the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD).

MFVD officials went before the Town Board earlier this month to ask for the increase, saying the funds were needed in the wake of the $5.7 million theft from its coffers by longtime treasurer Michael Klein, who is now serving more than six years in a federal prison in South Carolina.

Prior to the embezzlement in 2015, the department was on track to receive a $1.7 million contract for its services. After the crime was discovered and the investigation got underway, the Town Board cut that contract by $500,000 to $1.2 million. The department continued to receive $1.2 million from the town for the next two years, but fire officials said an extra $200,000 was needed in 2018. Two new tanker trucks were required—the two currently in service are well over 20 years old and rapidly deteriorating. They also said they need to purchase some state-mandated safety equipment, including bail-out systems (used by firefighters to escape upper floors of burning buildings) and air cylinders.

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