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New law makes Barker Fire Company independent of village

SOMERSET – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed a bill that allows the Barker Fire Department to become independent of the village, Supervisor Daniel M. Engert announced Friday.

The move extends the town’s fire protection district to include the village boundaries, enlarging the tax base to support the volunteer fire company and placing it under the legal control of the town. Somerset will have a contract with the fire company for service, while Engert said the village will no longer risk any liability and workers’ compensation costs that might have cropped up in case of an accident.

Engert said the fire company also will be able to bill insurers for ambulance calls, giving it another source of revenue and potentially reducing the fire protection tax.