SPECIAL MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD
TOWN OF GLENVILLE
DECEMBER 8, 2004
AT THE GLENVILLE MUNICIPAL CENTER
18 GLENRIDGE ROAD, GLENVILLE, NEW YORK
Present: Supervisor Clarence W. Mosher, Councilmen Peter V. Russo, Mark A. Quinn, Robert E. Bailey and James W. Denney
Supervisor Mosher called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM.
Supervisor Mosher asked the Town Clerk, Linda C. Neals, to call the roll. Everyone was present and accounted for.
Supervisor Mosher – “Id’ like to provide a little information first.
The Town Board of the Town of Glenville acts in a capacity as Fire Commissioners of Fire Protection District #4. That is the reason for this public hearing. It’s our responsibility to select the service that can best provide emergency medical services and fire protection to the residents of Fire Protection District #4.
We have to take into consideration not only the quality of those services, but the cost of those services as well.
The Beukendaal Fire Department, Fire District #5 has proposed to provide those services to a portion of Fire Protection District #4 for a cost of one hundred eighty thousand seven hundred and eighty two dollars ($180,782) approximately. Thomas Corners Fire Department, Fire District #7 has proposed to cover the remainder of Fire Protection District #4 for a cost of forty seven thousand nine dollars ($47,009) for a total cost of two Hundred twenty seven thousand seven hundred ninety one dollars ($227,791).
The Village of Scotia’s Fire Department has proposed to provide the same services for two years at a cost to the residents of three hundred twelve thousand eight hundred dollars ($312,800) for each of the two years and tree hundred fifteen thousand four hundred dollars ($315,400) for a one year period. That is an approximate increase of forty two thousand seven hundred dollars ($42,700) from 2004 costs for the two year contract and an approximate increase of forty five thousand three hundred dollars ($45,300) for the one year contract.
I think it’s only fair that we give each of the fire services the opportunity to make a presentation; therefore I’d like to give each of the fire services an opportunity to present their position.
The toss of the coin gave first priority to Scotia, so they shall present their position first followed by Beukendaal/Thomas Corners and then we shall hear from the residents involved. Finally we’ll hear the recommendation from Fire Protection District #4 Committee headed by Mr. Richard Nebolini. He will introduce his committee and present their findings.
I would like to start off with the Scotia delegation.”
Fire Chief Richard Kasko – “I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to present our position to you. We have presented it to the committee in great detail so I am going to give a brief recap of the services that we provide and then the Mayor is going to talk a little bit more in detail on the financial part of it.
(A slide show presentation was given.)
The Scotia Fire Department is made up of a career and volunteer staff. The career staff is headed by a full time chief, four captains, four lieutenants and four firefighters on each shift, there are four different shifts.
There is always a minimum of two on duty and there is always an officer on duty. The volunteer staff consists of an assistant chief, a captain and two lieutenants and twenty four firefighters. We all train together and of course career firefighters by state standards are required a lot more hours of training, but that benefits our volunteers as that training is passed on.
Our response, at any day, is on duty staff leaves immediately as soon as any call comes in medical, hazardous materials, firefighting whatever the situation might be, the volunteer staff reports directly to the incident scene and the off duty career and the drivers report to the station. So a code “35” a structural alarm everybody comes right to the station.
The response time is critically important. As we all know a fire doubles in size every sixty seconds and the quicker we can get to the scene the better. Our average response time is two and one half (2½ minutes) and that is anywhere within our response area.
We did a survey and looked at when our calls typically occur and through a Sunday to Saturday the majority of calls are obviously during the week day Monday through Friday and the majority of calls during that time period are from basically 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. when most people are at work. So the advantage of having a career service is we are at work, we are at our job and we are ready to respond to any emergency.
This slide shows the difference in response time during the working day and during the working hours from 6:00 to 6:00 and incidents by the day of the week Monday through Friday.
The majority of our calls in all of our departments is EMS and one of the advantages of Scotia Fire Department is we are the only agency in the Town that has advanced life support. We have ten (10) EMT basics, six (6) advanced EMT intermediates and three (3) paramedics. We are not a paramedic service but any new firefighter that is hired for Scotia, fulltime, has to be a firefighter paramedic and that is setting us up in the position to provide even a better service in the future to our residents.
The advantage of having an intermediate over a basic EMT, number 1 we are there in only two and one half (2½) minutes. Can we guarantee the response time to Mohawk, usually they are quite dependable, but the point is that we’re there at your house in two and one half (2½) minutes.
Another critical point of the intermediate level is that we can start an I-V. Why is an I-V critical? It gets fluids back into your body.
All of our fire departments in the Town of Glenville, not only Scotia, we provide a lot of services. We have emergency medical response, fire protection, rescue, and we cover code enforcement services. All of our career officers are code enforcement officers, all of our firefighters are trained in the operations level for hazardous materials response and career staff is trained at technician level. Our future goal for this next year is to send our firefighters around the country for the chemical warfare for terrorism response.
One of the additional things that I would like to bring up that we add to the mix is, I am the new guy coming in and after a month of being here coming to this meeting is pretty exciting. What I do bring with me is ten (10) years of experience in the second largest industrial school in the country. That’s a benefit to our industrial/corporate park. We’ve already met with them and started a dialog with their safety people and talked about working together, training together because in an industrial type of emergency all of these things come into play, it’s not just the quickest response, people trapped in equipment or machinery need to have fluids put into their body as quickly as possible and it is
very important to an industrial or commercial brigade and safety response team to have a fire department that is there and ready to respond as quickly as possible.”
Michael McLaughlin, Village of Scotia Mayor – “I’d like to thank the Council for the opportunity to be here this evening.
We have three trustees here, Trustee Kastberg, Trustee Benny and Trustee Carpenter.
I am going to talk very quickly about the contract calculation, cost differences between volunteer and our Scotia combined career and volunteer department, the proposal for ’05 and a quick summary of the survey that we did of Fire District #4 residents.
There are some complications associated with the rate calculation that we don’t have time to get into this evening that have to do with the timing and when the tax bills are due and when our budget year ends etc. The basic calculation is we break the Village expenses into fire expenses and non-fire expenses. We break the Village income into fire income and non-fire income and the net fire expense is paid by all. A Village homeowner with a $100,000 house pays exactly the same amount for fire as the Fire Protection District #4 person with a $100,000 house. Our industrial contracts except for those that are still in their minimum stage also pay exactly the same rate. So the Village does not subsidize the fire
service for the other customers nor do we place any surcharge on the rate. The rate difference between the volunteer proposals and ours are solely a function of the manpower related expenses. The Chief talked about service issues that are manpower and training related and the fact that we have 24-7 manned operation. That requires people that cost dollars and salaries and benefits.
(Mayor McLaughlin explained the chart being shown on the slide)
This is a chart that looks at 2004. In the right hand column is the fire rate for the Village and fire district #4, next for Beukendaal/Rectors and next for Thomas Corners. If I subtract from the Village rate (slide presentation was halted do to technical difficulties, so Mayor McLaughlin continued his presentation without the assistance from the slides).
Mayor McLaughlin – “We are looking at slide #5 and I was breaking the Scotia fire rate and the rate that is applied to Fire District #4, this was for 2004, breaking that into two parts, the salary and benefits part and all other. All other is equipment, buildings, cars, trucks, whatever and when you subtract in 2004 of our $3.19 rate $2.39 of that was the manpower and $.80 was all other costs. You see that the all other costs are very competitive compared to the other districts. The added cost that we have is the man-power costs.
The next chart labeled #6 looks at the proposals that are on the table, the Village proposal at the top and the combined volunteer proposal at the bottom. It uses the 2004 assessment, which are the last figures that we have and we see that again the comparison of the rate excluding the manpower costs is very favorable to the Village and again the difference is the manpower cost that relates to our ability to have the manpower on deck 24-7 and if you take these rates and look it is about $1.00 per $1,000 difference, so an $80,000 house would pay $80 extra for the service from the Village, $100,000 house $100 etc. We think that this is an excellent value and that the added service benefits warrant the cost. We are not the low
cost provider but we think that we are a valued provider.
Next a few comments on the 2005-2006 proposals. First why did we propose a flat 2 year contract? First it was suggested by the RFP Committee as a way to address the issue. Two years would give our new Chief time to have an impact on our organization and cost structure and allow us to explore other items of fire revenue, which there are some that are possible with appropriate planning. Two years would also give us a minimal planning time in order to respond to changes, it gives a little bit of stability and the Village, for the two year period, was willing to try this flat rate approach without any correction formula, that’s a joint risk to all of us and we are willing to do that for the length of the two-year
So the results for the proposal are as Supervisor Mosher indicated our flat two-year proposal is three hundred and twelve thousand eight hundred ($312,800) per year and then there is a chart that summarizes the survey that we took, mailed to all residences in Fire District #4 and these are just the pull-out summaries. The full summary with its methodology has been distributed to the RFP Committee and to members of this Board. Basically 82% say that they receive excellent or good fire and emergency response service, 89% say that the 24-7 paid firefighters are very important or somewhat important and 95% say that intermediate level emergency service is very important or somewhat important. All of these followed a paragraph of
description so, we think the value of the Scotia Fire Department Service is recognized by the residents of Fire District #4. We had an excellent, about a 20% response from the survey, which is quite high for such surveys and so we think it is a good measure, actually the only real measure we have of the satisfaction level.
So with that I would just like to thank the efforts of the RFP Committee, Supervisor Mosher and the Council for giving us the opportunity to make the bid.”
Councilman Denney – “Mayor, do you have any idea how much of the rate that is proposed for either the one (1) year or the two (2) year contract, how much of that is your building/planning network related. So if you were to net that out, seeing the presentation I haven’t seen those numbers yet. I am just curious what that number might be, even a rough number is fine.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “The annual BAN payment was one seventy five of which 22.77, excuse me one thirty five, if somebody has a calculator, sixty percent of the BAN payment is related to fire, 22.7% of that is the fractional assessment of fire district #4 versus the total of the Village of fire district #4…
Councilman Denney – “You lost me. One hundred and thirty five is the BAN payment…
Mayor McLaughlin – “That is the annual BAN payment time 60% because the BAN covers fire issues and non-fire issues.”
Councilman Denney – “Sixty percent is fire and 22.7…
Mayor McLaughlin - “Of the fire 22.7% gets allocated to fire district #4, based on the assessment level. So we are down to (Mayor is figuring in his head out loud) eighteen thousand something.”
Councilman Denney – “What would that equate to as far as the rate per thousand, ballpark?”
Mayor McLaughlin – “I can’t do that in my head. Take three seventy is three hundred and twelve thousand, how many thousand, twenty eight, slightly less than ten percent of that, but I don’t like the direction that this is going because it’s been a legitimate fire expense in terms of the planning…
Councilman Denney - “Oh that’s not the question. I don’t think I alluded to anything other than what was the number. I didn’t make any judgments on it.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “So just ratio the three seventy, three seventy, the rate three point seven is equal to the three twelve…
Councilman Denney – “We could rough it and say twenty cents of it, of the three seventy, give or take a few pennies per thousand is probably attributed to the building plan.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “Okay, I think that is correct. Primarily that’s some cost related to the planning and the work that was done to define the need and to evaluate a particular plan…
Councilman Denney – “How many years is that bond anticipation note?”
Mayor McLaughlin – “That would be five (5) years.”
Councilman Denney – “When did that start?”
Mayor McLaughlin – “It hasn’t started.”
Councilman Denney – “This one year proposal incorporates that though.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “That is correct. The one year proposal incorporates a BAN payment in the first year, the two year proposal in an effort to keep the cost down starts the BAN in the second year rather than in the first year so each proposal has one essentially twenty percent (20%) of the BAN as being that fire district #4 is paying their share for 20%...
Councilman Denney – “The 2004 Contract, the year that we are in now, where the total went from $225,000 (prior year) and it went the $270,000, so there is a $45,000 increase from the 2003 rate to the 2004 rate.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “We gave a very detailed analysis of that…
Councilman Denney – “I wasn’t on the Board than.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “Well it is in the packet that was distributed to the Board.”
Councilman Denney – “My question is, were there any building related costs incorporated in that.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “No. That is what I just said.”
Councilman Denney – “Well there’s no BAN cost but were there any costs…
Mayor McLaughlin – “We’ve been accumulating those costs, not charging them to anybody and with the resolution that says that these can be incorporated in a bond or a BAN at the appropriate time.”
Councilman Denney – “So anything that you have been doing building related for the last couple years you’ve segmented and the BAN covers that.”
Mayor McLaughlin – “Yes, that is correct and if the project had been approved the bond would have covered it. So there is no double counting of building expenses.”
Councilman Bailey – “Just one for the Fire Chief. You quoted a response time of 2½ minutes as your average response, is that based on every call that comes in, every fire call or every fire and medical call. There is nothing left out of that?’
Fire Chief Kasko – “There was approximately a three year window, basically we started a new fire recording system sometime in July of 2001 until whatever date that was until whatever date we prepared the presentation for fire district #4. Approximately three (3) years worth of data for every single call and response to fires, medicals, any call that goes into our fire recording.”
Councilman Bailey – “Okay and the clock that you use starts when the call comes in….
Chief Kasko – “We use the times given to us by Glenville Dispatch, which comes in the second the call is taken.”
Councilman Bailey – “When does it end?”
Chief Kasko – “When we call back in service. The response time will go from the time we’re dispatched from here to the time the first units on the scene. The first unit on the scene is either going to be Engine 201 or it is going to be the rescue truck.”
Councilman Quinn – “I read your survey results and I think the one question that I have is in regards to this excellent or good rating. Was there some sort of qualifier questions that indicated whether or not they utilize your service as to whether they just believe it is an excellent or good service?”
Mayor McLaughlin – “The question, I think I can quote it exactly…
Councilman Quinn – “Did the respond indicate whether they had been a direct beneficiary of your service?”
Mayor McLaughlin – “No, we did not ask that question. It was in a sense a perception survey of how are we doing in the market place.”
Councilman Quinn – “In terms of being on scene, is waiting in a vehicle outside the scene until other manpower arrives, does that qualify as being on the scene?”
Chief Kasko – (responded but he was too far away from the microphone)
Councilman Russo – “It was reported in the papers when you were trying to build the firehouse that you had spent in the neighborhood of 1.3 million dollars for architectural renderings for consultations…
Mayor McLaughlin – “Absolutely false.”
Councilman Russo – “Can you tell us how much was…
Mayor McLaughlin – “Total amount that we banned was all of our accumulated costs plus money this year that is going to fix up and to possible studies, depending on what direction our board chooses to take, and the total bond amount or ban amount was $635,000 (the Mayor asked the Village-Clerk Treasurer, Wendy Ashley, who was seated in the back of the room to verify this amount) (the microphone could not pick up her response) that was an amount we didn’t know whether we would be fixing up falling ceilings or whether we would be doing new engineering studies or whatever. We did put the new exits in with probably a quarter of that money. We are doing other minor fix-up stuff now under the anticipation that it
is going to take a while for anything else to develop.”
Councilman Denney – “What was the methodology for coming up with the sixty percent (60%) allocated to fire?”
Mayor McLaughlin – “We took the last, at each stage of the design process a construction cost estimate was prepared, we took the latest one of those and we took the ratio of the total, the fire to the total construction, for both pieces of the job and that was sixty percent (60%). The basic assumption then is all of the ancillary costs and that split on that same basis as opposed to counting each and every two dollar survey that is done.”
Councilman Denney – “I think that rational sounds reasonable to me but some of the costs that you indicated is also for improvements that you are going to make in the existing building as you go through this process, what if that was substantially different from sixty percent (60%)? How would you…
Mayor McLaughlin – “If we were doing a correction formula and stuff we could correct for that but if we are not doing…what we’ve proposed at the request of the RFP Committee is a flat rate estimate.”
Councilman Denney – “So one hundred percent (100%) of the expense was really for non-fire related we effectively would be subsidizing that portion…
Mayor McLaughlin – “I would say of the amount that has been spent so far which is probably be seventy-five or eighty, three quarters of it has been fire because of the exits and then some fix-up stuff that our new Chief has started to do in the building.”
Councilman Denney – “Did you do anything to estimating as to what you think it would be based on the plan that you’ve developed? I mean is that sixty (60) still a pretty fair number?”
Mayor McLaughlin – “If there is roughly one hundred thousand left it maybe left at the end of the year or we may do other chunks of it…I can’t distinguish whether one hundred and twenty thousand ($120,000) out of the total is going to be fire or not. Don’t forget it keeps getting diminished in terms of the fractional impact on Fire District #4 it is not that whole gross amount.”
Dave Gallup, Vice-Chairman Board of Fire Commissioners for Beukendaal Fire Department and Carol Kiddle, Secretary/Medical Captain, Beukendaal gave a presentation regarding the proposal submitted by Beukendaal/Thomas Corners Fire Departments.
Dave Gallup – “This being our first time here we had not prepared a presentation.
We basically are now taking on the lead agency, Thomas Corners for tonight asked if we would speak on their behalf also in the interest of time.
We have fifty (50) firefighters at this point, active firefighters. Thomas Corners having approximately the same. We have twenty-two (22) EMTs right now and five (5) that are attending school at this present time and they will be done at the end of the month.
When a call comes in for medical with us we respond, the EMT responds directly to the scene. They are fully equipped with a jump bag with oxygen and everything that they need to do a basic life support skills at the scene. Our average response time is three and one-half (3½) minutes. Our district is a little bit bigger. Sometimes it’s a little longer getting to the end of the district but our average response time is three and one-half (3½) minutes. Thomas Corners being actually a little bit better than us at three (3) minutes.
We have also one paramedic but we cannot be considered advanced life support because we have not received that designation. We have not gone to that point mainly because Mohawk Ambulance is on the scene within ten (10) minutes. That gives us enough time after three (3) minutes of arrival to do our basic life support skills. So if the ambulance arrives with a paramedic on it under contract that the Town presently has with Mohawk to have a paramedic on scene and the Town pays for, would take over from us what we have already done at the time.
We also do other things, we have a water rescue team, we have a boat on the river, we have a ice rescue team also, we have the only foam truck in the Town of Glenville at the present time. Not being in the fire service you probably don’t understand the concept of how much faster foam will put a fire out and the less personal and manpower you need with this foam truck to do the same thing and also water, so it cuts down a lot on that.
We also go out to residents homes. We check, if they call us for special requests and we check their residences for fire safety items. We do CPR classes free for the public an on going basis. All of our members are CPR qualified at least because ninety (90) percent of our calls are medical.”
Carol Kiddle – “In the last seven (7) years our department was named EMS Agency of the year, twice for Schenectady County and we were runner up once. Three of our members were designated EMT’s of the year, one of our members was designated instructor of the year, also in Hudson/Mohawk Fire Firefighters Association, which we belong, we had in one year four (4) of our members were jointly named firefighter of the year and we had an honorable mention for that.
I wanted to stress a little bit more what Dave said about our response time. Our EMT’s and Thomas Corners also, go right to the scene if you pass it on your way to the station. They do not have radios so that three point five (3.5) minute response time is not always accurate. If that is going to become a big issue over the years we may have to look at getting them radios and clog up the dispatch system even more to let you know that people are getting there sooner. There have even been instances where no one thought a truck or no EMT was there and we called for mutual aid when in fact we had EMT’s on the scene already but they didn’t have a radio to say “hello” I am here.
As Dave mentioned we not only do the CPR courses, we do first-aid courses for the community. We have offered defensive driving. We have two members who are Red Cross Certified Instructors, who by the way got this training on their own time and it is a four (4) day class.
We drill every Monday night. We have special extra drills and courses. Our five members right now who are in EMT class that is one hundred eighty (180) hours in one semester and again this is done on their own time, evenings and weekends.
We also participate in the quality improvement plan between the County, also the Town, we do it with Mohawk. As part of that we send out a patient satisfaction survey on every one of our medical calls and in six (6) years we have only had one negative comment back and it was not about us it was about Mohawk.
One of the comments we got recently was you got here before we even had time to put the porch light on.
Specifically in terms of District #4, we have five (5) members all EMTs live in District #4, we have three (3) others who live a block either side of and all of those three are officers. So, these eight (8) people would be going right to the scene on a medical call and from where we live our response time could be faster even then Scotia.”
Mr. Gallup – “We also do a lot more things for the public than other departments do. We go out to the district; I know Scotia does too, with a cider and doughnut wagon. We also go around at Christmas time with Santa Clause to the district. These are just little added things that we do. Our troop drives have been a great moral booster for us and we also feel it is a great thing for the public and for the Town in general, we always try to make sure that these press people know that we are in the Town of Glenville, not Scotia, we are in Glenville. That has always been pushed forth to them that this is Glenville.
That is basically what we had for you. We hadn’t prepared a presentation because we did turn that into the District #4 Committee when they were working on it so we are kind of winging it tonight.”
Councilman Russo – “In the Beukendaal area how many homes would be affected in District #4.”
Mr. Gallup – “We would be taking approximately six hundred (600) of the eight hundred (800) homes that are in Fire District #4.”
Councilman Russo – “The other two hundred (200) would be Thomas Corners?”
Mr. Gallup – “Yes, that is basically why they deferred to us to come up and speak to you tonight. They are in the audience.”
Councilman Bailey – “Would you describe for me a little bit how you would handle the Corporation Park?”
Mr. Gallup – “Corporations Park area, anytime we would go to Corporations Park area where there would be a significant call going to that area, a call for fire, we would be having a mutual aid respond with us and that is just a normal course of action for basically any department.”
Ms. Kiddle – “Just as with the schools and any of the businesses or large buildings in the Town if an alarm of fire comes in it is an automatic… a department gets toned out right a way, somebody else whoever is in the mutual aid plan does also.”
Councilman Quinn – “You mentioned that there are instances where early responders are not equipped with radios, I trust that in all of these cases you have portable scanners but you are not able to communicate out, correct?”
Mr. Gallup – “Exactly, we have pagers so that the personnel on the scene are listening and they can hear when the truck is responding but they don’t have, unless they happen to have their cell phones with them and can call into dispatch, which has happened in the past. Whether that time is recorded or not I do not know but they have called in and said “Hey we’re hear on the scene” and dispatch has reported back to the truck responding or the first responder with a radio that there is someone on the scene.”
Ms. Kiddle – “More importantly when you get there you are worried about the patient. If we hadn’t heard the truck roll yet we will call the station to say, I am hear, roll the truck.”
Councilman Quinn – “So, say that you are the first responder and you don’t have a radio to utilize for that purpose how would you do that?
Mr. Gallup – “Either by cell phone or by the patient’s phone at their residence.”
Councilman Denney – “First I need to ask you, I have a letter here that was signed “Sincerely, the Dedicated Volunteers from Glenville” is that something that came officially from the departments.”
Mr. Gallup – “That came from, yes the departments.”
Councilman Denney – “In that, in the first paragraph there was an insertion that this contract would be for approximately, the proposed contract of Beukendaal/Thomas Corners, would be for approximately a third of the cost of the present contract that Scotia has. I was confused when somebody provided that to me and I read it because just a few days before when you had come to our meeting last week you gave us copies of the two and I had remembered it was roughly two hundred and something dollars…
Mr. Gallup – “A third less I believe….
Councilman Denney – “But that is not what it says.”
Mr. Gallup – “Exactly”
Councilman Denney – “So this was not accurate.”
Mr. Gallup – “It went out incorrectly.”
Councilman Denney – “So you meant to say a third less, which is what I thought because when I read it I said it got written wrong.”
Mr. Gallup – “When the numbers are put together in there…
Councilman Denney – “That is my next point which is one it was written wrong and I think a little bit inflammatory with the benefit of some hindsight you’d agree that if you were a resident getting this and you were here tonight and you were still under the misimpression that it was a third of the cost, you’d probably be coming up here saying I want Beukendaal/Thomas Corners if cost was your only issue, but that’s not the case.
When I do the math, you say the present contract is two hundred and seventy thousand ($270,000) your proposal is two hundred twenty seven thousand seven hundred ninety-one ($227,791) that’s not a third less but even if you bump it up to three hundred twelve thousand eight hundred my math is that it is a twenty six percent (26%) decrease, which also isn’t a third. It is twenty six point eight percent (26.8%) less than Scotia so people in the audience know that because I think it is important. I mean that is a pretty big difference than this says sixty seven percent (67%) and you agree with my numbers.”
Mr. Gallup – “The basic attempt with that letter was to get residents out here.”
Councilman Denney – “Yes, but you want to get them here for the right reason and with the right information and that information isn’t correct, I think it is great that you were trying to get people out, I want to hear what people have to say. We received probably twelve to fifteen e-mails out of eight-hundred households. That’s not a lot. I’ve received a lot of comments over the last number of months that would add to more than that but it’s still not in the hundreds, so the more people that come out I think that is productive regardless of how…
Mr. Gallup – “We were also considering a survey was already sent out but we knew that only one hundred people had responded back from the eight hundred surveys that went out so we didn’t feel that that was really an accurate representation of District #4 residents with that survey that came back. So we felt that we would probably end up with the same result, not the full content of what should be coming back with that survey.”
Councilman Quinn – “You are saying that you don’t consider that a representative sample with one out of every eight.”
Mr. Gallup – “A sample but one hundred out of eight hundred, I mean you’ve got seven hundred people that did not respond whether it’s just because they didn’t want to or they didn’t receive it…
Councilman Quinn – “Most bulk mailers would be happy with a twelve percent (12%) response rate…
Mr. Gallup – “Right, but to base something totally on one hundred surveys out of eight hundred is kind of a tough thing to do.”
Ken Talbot, 618 Sanders Avenue, Fire District #4 (not affiliated with any fire department) – “I have had the opportunity to utilize Scotia Fire Department. I am very pleased with the response and the men that are there. I hope you play heavily on the fact that Fire District #4 residents want Scotia Fire Department to respond and I am very satisfied with their service.”
Richard Calderwood, 515 Sanders Avenue, Fire District #4 (not affiliated with any fire department) – “When my father-in law was alive we utilized the fire department, the medical response and I can say they were outstanding above anything I’d ever seen and every time (they were probably there twenty (20) times). My big concern is response for the fire. Beukendaal has to come down and across Mohawk Avenue, Scotia is right on Mohawk Avenue and I am concerned that the fire response will be much greater for Beukendaal then Scotia.”
Bob Livingston, 708 Orlinda Avenue, Fire District #4 (not affiliated with any fire department) – “Last March I had a heart attack. The first one on the scene was Scotia firemen, they started an IV. Later after I was transported to Ellis itI was shocking enough that the second attempt for a new IV was bending the needles. They decided to use the firemen’s IV for the next five (5) days. I had a quadruple by-pass and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Scotia firemen for their timely medical assistance from a young man that had a heart attack, it was a big surprise.”
Michael Schermerhorn, 10 Riverside Place, Fire District #4 (I am affiliated) “Before I begin, I would like to tell you a little about myself, since I will refer to some of these points. First and foremost I reside in FPD #4. I also have the tremendous honors of being a police officer for the Town of Glenville and a volunteer member of the Scotia Fire Department.
I mention my position as a police officer with the town of Glenville first. During the course of my duties and responsibilities as a Glenville Police Officer I have had and continue to have the privilege of working along side many dedicated, honorable and quite remarkable members from fire departments throughout Scotia and Glenville. I have personally seen these individuals repeatedly give their hearts and souls to help save lives and protect the property of the residents in Scotia and Glenville. In my mind, their will never be a question of commitment, dedication or professionalism of any member of any department in our community.
We all must face the reality that we are living extremely busy lives. While we all attempt to juggle our responsibilities of family and home many of us have chosen to serve our community by joining our fire departments. Unfortunately, our ranks are shrinking. Our membership town-wide is down. At the same time our community is growing rapidly. Our calls for service continue to grow as well. The members of our departments are being pressed to balance that fine line between family and service more and more. With these facts, our town departments are being forced to rely more often than not, on mutual aid agreements with one another just to provide the basic services that our residents have come to expect. But, because of our dedication and our cooperation we are successful.
Now, I understand that the membership from the Thomas Corners and Beukendaal Fire Departments would like to take on additional responsibilities and expand their coverage area to provide service to FPD #4. Can they honestly, in a safe timely manner handle this tremendous, additional responsibility? What happens to the residents that they currently serve? Will their needs still be served in the same timely, safe fashion that they have come to expect? Will they have to wait unnecessarily while additional calls are being handled in FPD #4? Will the residents in FPD #4 have to wait? I know that from time to time I am responsible for taking on more than I should. It is difficult to say no when you’re
heart is telling you yes. I understand why they want to do more, it’s admirable. But, is it right?
The most important part of my life and probably for everyone in this room is family. For more than 20 years my mother and father operated our family business, Arrowhead Marina & R.V. Park, located in the Beukendaal Fire District. My parent’s called for assistance from Beukendaal’s members many times over the years. They always provided top notch, professional care. Today, my sister and brother-in-law continue to operate the business. Their patrons are a wonderful blend of seniors and families with young children. My mother resides in an apartment on Saratoga Road, which is in the Thomas Corners Fire District. As you know, these apartments have a large population, many senior citizens. Thomas Corners responds to calls and assists people in need here frequently. My wife is a teacher at Glen-Worden Elementary School, again in the Thomas Corners Fire District. Any week day there are over 300 of our children in the building. To me, both department’s have
awesome responsibilities. I thank them for all that they do for my family and for our community. But, we need to know that we can continue to expect the same timely, top notch, professional service that we have grown accustomed to from the members of Beukendaal and Thomas Corners Fire Departments.
I have taken a lot of your time and I thank you again for your patience, but I would like to share a very personal story with you. In December of 2001 my father Si, who many of you knew personally and who served the Town of Glenville for more than 20 years was stricken while at home. My mother and father lived in the home that my family and I now live in located at 10 Riverside Place, FPD #4. In the early morning hours of December 13th my mother placed a 911 call to Glenville Fire Control and requested help for my father. While one dispatcher was sending help another was calling me to inform me that my dad was ill. At the time, I lived on Swan Street in the Village of Scotia. My position with the
police department required that I drive a police car home at the end of my shift. Hearing the news that my dad was ill I immediately threw some cloths on and responded to my parent’s home. It was early and there was little traffic, but I still had the advantage of responding in a marked police car utilizing emergency lights and sirens. By the time I walked in the door at my parent’s home members of the Scotia Fire Department had already arrived and had begun to provide assistance. They accessed my dad and began basic life saving measures. I noticed that they had placed him on oxygen and had placed an intravenous in his arm. Their response was immediate. The minutes that they saved responding absolutely helped my dad. Unfortunately, I lost my dad later that day, however the immediate response and care that the members of the Scotia Fire Department gave my dad that morning allowed me to gather my family together and spend
cherished time at the hospital with my dad. They gave us a tremendous gift, precious time and allowed us to say goodbye. My family and I will never forget this service.
In closing, I would like to remind everyone that time is everything when it comes to saving lives and protecting property. When we need help we need it yesterday. A fire will double in size and intensity every minute that it is left to grow. A simple example: if there is a fire in one room in your home and something is not done to suppress it within 1 minute two rooms are now on fire. Within approximately 5 minutes a person without oxygen being supplied to their brain may suffer brain damage and possibly death. My property is at the farthest point of FPD #4. Scotia Fire Department and only Scotia Fire Department can be at my doorstep in minutes. No other department can respond and act as quickly. How can another department that would have to drive past the Scotia Fire Department possibly get to my home and family quicker? They can not! I will not discredit any other department in our town or question their commitment. But, we need to do what makes sense.
If I need to pay more for fire protection, so be it. No one can put a price on the lives or safety of my family. But, I suggest to you that saving money is not the real issue here. I received a letter from the Beukendaal and Thomas Corners Fire Departments in the mail the other day. If you have had the opportunity to see a copy of this letter I think that you would agree that there are greater personal issues. The Village of Scotia has just spent a great deal of time and effort to recruit and hire a wonderful new fire chief. He made it quite clear to all of us from the minute that he took command that he expects cooperation and professionalism from all his members. Given the time and the chance I believe that he will be able to address some of these other issues. Councilman Denney has already expressed his belief that the Scotia Fire Department should continue to protect FPD #4. Please join him and support his
recommendation by continuing our contract for service in FPD #4 with the Scotia Fire Department.”
Tom Culver, member of Thomas Corners Fire Department – “Yesterday afternoon, last night was the Thomas Corners monthly meeting and I had happened to come across a copy of this letter that you are talking about. I had twenty-five copies made and I brought it to the Thomas Corners members and past them out at the meeting. I couldn’t find anybody at the meeting that knew anything about this letter.
I just wanted to clarify that point; I could not find anybody that had anything to do with that letter.”
Virginia Graney, 209 Parkland Avenue, Fire District #4 (not affiliated with any fire district) – “First of all I don’t know where my survey was because I never got it. I have lived there for twenty years so the mailman knows where I am.
I want to preface my comments by saying that I have lived in the same house for twenty years, I have no complaints about the Scotia Fire Department itself but I am a little bit taken back by what’s been going on over the past several months. The Town Committee has recommended that the Scotia Fire Department should continue to provide fire service to the town residents in fire district #4. I am not sure who the committee consists of. If there’s bias within the committee…
Supervisor Mosher – “Mrs. Graney, you will be introduced to every member of that committee and I think you will see that there is no bias. I will let you make your own decision.”
Ms. Graney – “Last week when I was here at the meeting a representative from Beukendaal and Thomas Corners stated that he had never received an RFP. I don’t understand that. Why not, why wouldn’t he have received one? If each of the fire districts is supposed to come up with a plan isn’t that the appropriate way to go. On December 1st they said they submitted what they thought was appropriate but they weren’t sure whether or not everything was included. By Saturday the Gazette had an article saying the Scotia was being endorsed. Does anyone care about the residents? I am all for response time believe me, my mother lived in Holyrood, I know how quickly the
Scotia Fire Department got to Holyrood and responded even to her a couple of times but I don’t believe the other fire districts are sitting around and not showing up. The cost has become horrendous in every regard. Taxes keep going up and up and up and up. For the past five years we have been paying a higher fee, because the contract has been around for five years, to Scotia then we would have to either of the other departments and that after in 1999 we were assured when we had a meeting such as this that there would be a higher cost the first year of the five year contract and then the cost would level off and if anybody chooses to you can go back and look at the minutes it is in there.
Early this year I was told that the contract would be for one year, now Scotia is proposing two years at seventeen percent (17%) more than the current contract. Seventeen percent (17%) is a lot of money to some people. When it comes to the new Scotia Fire Station how much are we going to be assessed for that? We are just expected to pay again and we have no right to vote on the issue. That probably burns me more than anything that I have to pay for something I have no right to vote on. When does it all end? It is the obligation of the town to consider the serious impact of a new contract with the Scotia Fire Department will have on the residents. I hope you take this into
Carol Kiddle, 514 Orlinda Avenue, Fire District #4, member of Beukendaal Fire Department – “My biggest concern tonight is the way this whole situation was handled. First of all I feel the committee should have all been district #4 residents. I also feel from what I have read in the paper and it sounded like what I heard at your meeting earlier tonight that a decision has kind of been made. What are we even having a public hearing for? Councilmen have made up their minds and were campaigning on an issue before the committee even put their feelings in.
The school board came out with a feeling. A Scotia paid fireman is on the school board. Beukendaal and Thomas Corners were not asked to come and talk to the school board or give any presentation.
I agree with Mrs. Grainey and you know that I have been here before that we are taxed without any representation on this. If everything had been open and above board and we loose so be it, but I question the system, I question the way things are tracked. There were some things that came out about the training that our members had. When we went in with five people and checked the state training data base all five of them are wrong and we will make sure that is corrected.
As we said our response time, the gentleman from Riverside Place, I can be there in about thirty seconds from where I live; I have a full medical bag.
I thing we need to go back and look at this whole procedure, how it was done and as I said if we loose so be it but whether it was fair I’m not sure the way it was handled. I also feel that the volunteers had gotten a very bad name and have gotten very bad publicity through this whole thing and this town would be in a big mess if you didn’t have volunteer departments serving you. Your taxes would be a lot higher. But if we loose I guarantee you we will be back in a year or two years.”
Dave Gallup – “First of all Mrs. Grainey said everything that I had here. I believe the Town Board asked all department heads to come up with cutting costs this year for the town. I believe a ten percent (10%) figure was mentioned to department heads.”
Supervisor Mosher – “Where do you get these things from David?”
Mr. Gallup – “There was a percentage that all department heads were asked to cut…
Supervisor Mosher – “You are wrong.”
Mr. Gallup – “I have a question for your. Were department heads asked to cut their departments this year?”
Supervisor Mosher – “No”
Mr. Gallup – “Okay. They were not asked to cut their departments and keep their departments at a minimum level. I think I will look back at some town board minutes on that one.
I just can’t see how the town board in good faith can allow a seventeen percent (17%) increase in this contract. Contracts are supposed to be negotiated, there’s no negotiation here. The contract is put in and then you either accept it or you don’t accept it.”
Supervisor Mosher – “No, that is not true, we are going to negotiate.”
Mr. Gallup – “So there is negotiation, this is not a final number then you’re saying of this contract that’s been turned in?”
Supervisor Mosher – “That’s right.”
Mr. Gallup – “I have another question for you. You budgeted the same amount for district #4 for next year as last year. Now with the contract that’s been turned in by Scotia with the increase what is going to happen with any money above your budget that is going to cost the residents? Where is that money going to come from?’
Supervisor Mosher – “You are presenting us with information; we are not presenting you with information.”
Mr. Gallup – “That is what my main points were to you sir, and to the board.”
Scotia Fire Chief Kasko – “Last Wednesday at the Town Board Meeting I made a commitment to you and the firefighters in the Town of Glenville that we would put our best foot forward and work together and resolve this issue. Coming into this and just being here a month has been quite an eye opener. I think for everybody else’s benefit one of the comments I made was the first goal of a terrorist’s organization is to divide the fire service and we have done a pretty good job of that ourselves. I guess they don’t have to worry about that.
On Thursday I met with the town chiefs and again I am still excited to be back here Mayor don’t worry. I made the same commitment to the town chiefs that we are going to work together and work hard and get this resolved. On Friday that letter was mailed, which offended me a little bit, it takes a lot to get me upset and put a bur in my saddle but I’m bound and determined to do the right thing for the Town of Glenville and myself. I am very, very proud to be the chief of this fire department and carry on the torch from Chief Falcon. I commit to you that I am going to do whatever it takes to do the right thing and tomorrow night the heads of the three crime families are meeting, me and the chiefs of Thomas
Corners and Beukendaal and we are gong to move forward.”
Lou Buhrmaster, 905 Charles Street, Fire District #4, past Commissioner representing FD#4 for over thirty (30) years. – “I have a little history that goes along with it. First of all I have to say to everybody here I have service from both Beukendaal and Scotia, at our business and at our homes and every one of them has been above reproach. Service is always good; I can not fault them for anything that I have seen.
One of my biggest concerns here tonight is I think at least it started out here with a very nice presentation it was very up beat and very positive also serving on the committee being appointed by the board to discuss this issue all three departments that were involved really did not put their best foot forward in the beginning. It did not start off on the right foot. Putting all of that aside I’ve got to stop and think about where I stand as far as FD#4 goes. I think that I have expressed to you and others that really FD#4 has no representation other than being appointed to this committee since the fire commissioners were banned in the Village of Scotia a number of years ago. I don’t think that was a smart
move, I think the Town Board should look at reestablishing a board of fire commissioners and the Village of Scotia should consider it if we are a part of that.
Fire District #4 is entitled under State Law for its own Board of Fire Commissioners if we do the proper petitioning. I think depending on how this thing comes out this year there is a group that might start that action to allow us to determine our own destiny. One of the other issues that I have talked to many of you about and was mentioned here previously, is that FD#4 should have the right to vote on the fire service protection that is offered. Absent a board of fire commissioners I don’t think you are doing justice to the FD#4 unless you have that done.
I have been suggesting this for a long period of time but if we have a two year contract then obviously within a two year period give us the opportunity to vote on what we have going forward.
Again my compliments to everybody and their interest in this and trying to resolve this as far as a personal opinion on it I think that either one could do it. The degree of satisfaction and service I don’t know of anybody that is unhappy with either department or service that is presented. I think I would agree with whatever the commission has said and recommended to you as a recommendation because the majority of the people have experienced that and are use to that kind of service that they have right now.
The issue of volunteers, I had the opportunity to interview Chief Kasko and I think he has a very positive attitude and I think he is capable of solving the problem that exists. Reducing manpower and womanpower is a major concern and there has got to be something done to resolve that. A lot of this will come for revamping our mutual aid system and a lot of the problems that we have right now is the lack of cooperation even though everybody says they are cooperating in reality they are not.
The other issue for the town to address and this one I’m very serious about is there never was a fire district established for the old Scotia Navel Depot. It has been a no mans land and it is all done by contracts. There should be a separate fire district established for that area and a separate fee established for that. Some of the risks that are present up in there demand more services than our local department can provide. Years ago when I was on the board there was a thirty man fire department located at that place, paid for by the government and your taxes and our taxes. There is nothing right now. We went through the whole process of them shucking their responsibility off and to be perfectly
frank I don’t trust government at that level at all. I said at that level. They would not allow us even in to some of the buildings that contained materials that were very hazardous. They expected us…
Supervisor Mosher – “You know that the Town of Glenville is considering taking Scotia-Glenville Industrial Park and Corporations Park and splitting it off. It is no more a part of FD#4 then junk. There has to be a separate fire district in the Scotia-Glenville Industrial Park.”
Mr. Buhrmaster – “I did not know you were considering that. I have been suggesting that and thank you very much.”
No one else wished to speak; Supervisor Mosher closed the Privilege of the Floor at 9:16 PM.
Richard Nebolini, Chairman of Fire Protection District #4 Committee – “Let me first start off by saying that I received a phone call from Supervisor Mosher asking me to serve on this committee. My immediate response was I’d like to think about it and I said I would qualify my answer only if the committee consisted of a divers-evocation of members. That no members on the committee should be affiliated with the Scotia Fire Department, the Beukendaal Fire Department or the Thomas Corners Fire Department. That the committee should have a divers-evocation of residents who reside in district #4, also professionals, career fire fighters and people that are attached to other volunteer fire departments within the
Town of Glenville.
After Supervisor Mosher re-contacted me and told me that the committee had been formed and he had supplied the names to me and their affiliations at that particular time I agreed to serve on that committee.
At this time I would like to introduce to you, the Town Board and the general public the members of the committee: Joan Mullins, Fire Commissioner Alplaus Fire District; Arnold Briscoe, Schenectady County Fire Investigator and First Assistant Chief East Glenville Fire Department; Michael Podolec, Schenectady County Fire Investigator, First Assistant Chief West Glenville Fire Department; Greg Bellamy, Schenectady County Deputy Fire Coordinator, former Chief Glenville Hill Fire Department, currently Sergeant in Glenville Hill Fire Department; Thomas Lacey, City of Schenectady Firefighter; Lou Buhrmaster, resident of FD#4, former Village Fire Commissioner; Mat McNeil, resident FD#4; ex-officio, Peter V. Russo, Town Councilman and also
ex-officio Supervisor Mosher. As Chairman of the committee I had nearly thirty-two years of experience as a City Firefighter, I rose to the rank of Captain. Of my thirty-two years I served fourteen years as a level four NYS certified paramedic, I recently retired from the department August of 2003. So as you can see the committee was well diversified.
I would like to publicly state what a fantastic job Darlene Gibbons did in assisting this committee and I would like to thank Darlene for her help.
You have been supplied with a packet and in the packet you will find exhibits A-F for your review.”
Mr. Nebolini went on to explain each exhibit contained in the packet.
Mr. Nebolini – “The Committee came to a unanimous decision. It is the overall census of this committee that the Village of Scotia Fire Department continues to serve the residents of Fire District #4. Let me briefly go over some of the supporting factors. The Village department is able to offer twenty-four hour coverage; the Village maintains and continues to upgrade their ALS advanced life support with the projection of only having level four paramedics in the future; the volunteer companies indicated that they saw no future upgrade in their level of training; the geographic layout and department coverage allowed for an unmatched response time for emergency calls; and as earlier discussed we did look at the
Village Survey; the Village is currently executing a program that requires only level four paramedic training for any new hires, there’s also a program that we’ve brought to light to the new chief and Mayor McLaughlin, that if they do decide to go to level four paramedic service there is a reimbursement program that will bring in revenue to the department. We further recommend that the Town Board enter into a one or two year contract with the Village. The current five year contract does not provide an area to effectively negotiate the ever changing costs in health insurance rates and pension obligations. A shorter contract term also will allow the newly hired fire chief, Chief Kasko to get a program offered through Mohawk Ambulance contracting for reimbursement of funds to the fire department for EMS services. This reimbursement will allow a favorable fluctuation in their expense column offering the residents a cost reduction. We further
recommend that the Town Board ask for a meeting with Dan Fiorillo Fire Coordinator, Schenectady County, Emergency Management Commissioner, we ask that James Buhrmaster at County Legislature and Legislature Farley and fire chiefs of all fire districts in Glenville to go over the protocol of mutual aid plans between fire departments. I must tell you gentlemen that during the course of our meeting we heard some real horror stories and we think these issues should be addressed and they can only be addressed with a county coordinator and the chiefs of all of these fire departments. There is a problem with mutual aid within your town.”
Mr. Nebolini read the following letter:
On behalf of the Scotia-Glenville School Board of Education we are writing to express our concern regarding the possibility of loosing fire response coverage from the Scotia Fire Department.
For the last several years the Scotia Fire Department has provided outstanding fire coverage for our Senior High School, Middle School, Lincoln and Sacandaga Elementary Schools. Throughout that time period our school district and Scotia Fire Department have developed an excellent working relationship.
This relationship has resulted in providing a safe learning environment for both our students and staff. The Scotia Fire Department has consistently provided an excellent response time to alarms generated from our schools. Within a few minutes of evacuating the building the Scotia Fire Department appears on the scene, finds the source of the alarm and allows us to quickly return our students and staff to their school.
It is our firm belief that no other first response provided is capable of providing such a timely service. With three of our schools located very near to Corporation Park it is vital that a quick response to any alarms takes place.
On more than one occasion an emergency in Corporations Park has caused us to consider an evacuation of one or more of our schools and in each instance a quick response from Scotia Fire Department has resulted in a reduction of the emergency and no need for evacuation of hundreds of students.
For all of these reasons we strongly urge you to support the continuation of emergency response services from the Scotia Fire Department for our schools.
If you have any questions or would like further information please feel free to contact either of us.
Margaret Smith, President of Board of Education
Michael Marcelle, Superintendent of Schools
At this particular time I would like to summarize and say Mr. Buhrmaster had touched on another concern of the Committee, that the residents of FD#4 truly don’t have a say of what their level of service should be.
We also recommend to you that residents of district #4 are able to have some input regarding what exactly happens within their district. You as the fire commissioners have that responsibility. There might be another way that you can address this issue so there is more input from the general public.
We also think that the Corporations Park issues, we quite frankly feel that they are not paying their fair share and that whole Corporations Park community should be looked at and studied.
On a personal note I would just like to once again commend the Committee for their commitment. I am honored and privileged to have been able to serve on this committee to serve the community that I reside in.”
Supervisor Mosher – “I would like to thank you and your Committee for a job well done. You accepted a hot responsibility and you took it on and I thank you very much for that.”
Councilman Bailey – “Your recommendation that we separate the Industrial Park from the district, I think I understand what you are driving at there, but I don’t want to speculate as to what the reasons are that the committee came up with. Can you share that with us, was there a cost benefit or what are the advantages or disadvantages?”
Mr. Nebolini – “It appears from some of the data that we were supplied with that Corporations Park is an entity that…first of all the fire load within that Corporations Park is spectacular, there is hazardous materials stored there as well evident by the last fire this community witnessed in that park. Anything can happen there. We found and we don’t feel that companies within that park really pay their fair share for coverage. It needs to be addressed if you so choose to do that.”
Supervisor Mosher – “Mr. Russo and I have spent many, many hours and something you said to the Town Board that got my attention and maybe you might want to reiterate it, something about Mr. Russo and I not imposing our will and staying totally divorced from this process.”
Mr. Nebolini – “I will address that. Even though yourself and Mr. Russo attended a good portion of the meetings this committee suffered no, absolutely no interference from yourself or Peter Russo. We came to this decision on our own without any pressures from neither you nor Mr. Russo. We were given virtually free reign and came to our decision in a unanimous position.”
This was not all about money. If this was all about money this would be an easy decision. It’s not all about money; it’s about all the different ingredients that a department brings to residents that they serve.”
Supervisor Mosher – “This Town Board has several things that it has to take into consideration. It must decide upon the recommendation. Depending upon the decision of the recommendation there has to be alternatives to the proposals; I think that we each have some. We have to come up with a negotiated cost. We must be ready by the December 15th board meeting so we have to move very quickly, we’ve got one week. We have to be ready by December 20th because we have to revise FD #4 tax rates with the county.
I am sure that I will be in touch with each one of you tomorrow. If you could by the close of business tomorrow have any thoughts, alternatives, which you would like to share with me, we will proceed post-hast. It may be a special board meeting.”
Councilman Quinn – “Other than to thank the committee once again for their service. We appreciate that.”
Supervisor Mosher – “It got very itchy, it got very tight but you have to go through the process, you have to let the committee work through the process, you can’t push them. I think that they did a good job.”
Councilman Russo – “I would just like to reiterate our “thank you” to the committee and for your leadership during those long meetings”
Councilman Denney – “I have a few things, some notes from the hearing and since a lot of the people are still here who made comments I think it is appropriate that they get responses.
Hearings are awkward sometimes because people are suppose to present to us but we work for you so if at all possible if we can respond at an appropriate time and usually after the hearing is the appropriate time.
Mr. Gallup, you question about we adopted a budget that was two hundred seventy dollars ($270,000). That is because we had to adopt a budget but we have until December 20th as the Supervisor just mentioned to submit the tax rate to the county to be on the tax bills. So from a statutory stand point a little bit more time.
Ms. Kiddle, you mentioned a couple of things that I want to respond to. One of them kind of gets into a…how this whole thing was conducted, first of all I do want to thank the committee. Richard was at a work session a couple of weeks ago and we had an opportunity to say some things to him but with most of the committee here tonight I want to thank all of you for your work. I know you put in a tremendous amount of time and effort and I am sure it has been an interesting experience for you.
Ms. Kiddle, you made a point about if you loose and I don’t want you or your department or Thomas Corners to feel like, based on whatever decision… if Scotia gets selected its not Beukendaal and Thomas Corners loosing. We’re just making a decision that we think is in the best interest of the folks in that district and I don’t think that you should take it as a negative. You have a tremendous emotional involvement in this as all the folks on the Scotia side do. Us as board members have an emotional interest in it and we don’t even live in the district as some people have pointed out. But I hope you don’t look at it as a loose situation.
You also made another point that I thought was interesting and I was happy to here it because you made the comment that you will be back in a year or two and I think that is wonderful because competition is a good thing. It certainly will keep Scotia on their toes over the next year or two. Times change, I think that Chief Kasko is going to reach out to the volunteer departments and this has probably helped him find the learning curve a little bit quicker than he might otherwise had having stepped right into the tail wind of this process. But competition is a good thing and it’s good for everybody, win or loose, if you want to use the word loose.
There was a comment about taxation without representation. There was another comment that I have to pay for something that I don’t have the right to vote on, talking about the proposed building and because of my background I have a little bit more experience on how fire protection districts work. Frankly it is an odd governmental entity. I even go so far as to say it is a flawed governmental entity. Mr. Buhrmaster made some comments about that. People shouldn’t have taxation without direct representation, you have representation the five of us here represent FD #4 but people in FD #4 don’t have the ability to unilaterally fire us or hire us, the entire town has the ability to do that and so you
have diluted ability to impose your will on us, which is what representative democracy is about. So that is a flaw and if there is an opportunity to provide a layer of representative democracy with the board of fire commissioners directly voted on then that would be a good thing and something I think we are pursuing and researching, however there has been so much talk about people not being able to vote last April in FD #4 for the proposed building and the reality is I can turn around and make a different comment which is should you have the right to vote on what you don’t have the obligation to pay for. The Village was voting on a bond that I think was going to last twenty–five or thirty years and yet from a statutory point a fire protection district can’t be contracted for more than five years. So why should you have the right to impose a cost on the Village of Scotia for a period longer than you are obligated to pay for it. We
don’t have to like it but that is the way it is and that is the reason you can’t vote directly on a referendum. If the state wants to change the law and say if a fire protection district votes on a long lived contract purchase referendum then they have the obligation to stay and pay their fair share for that period of time, I would have no problem with it. That is the rational for it, it’s odd, it’s flawed but it is the way it is. That is an education process because on its face it seems terribly unfair, the reality is that if you voted for that and two years later said “oh we don’t want to pay for that anymore” that would be terribly unfair to the people in the Village of Scotia who not only get to pay their fair share but yours as well because you decided to go elsewhere.
So that is the rational for it and it is a difficult thing so that was kind of the theme there. The fire protection districts are odd or strange and that we not one of us living in FPD #4, it is a strange thing to have to make a decision about an entity you don’t have an obligation to. We don’t have to pay the tax rate, we’re not the ones receiving the service.
One comment was made that I made a decision prior to the committee giving their report. Well I wasn’t on the board when the committee was charged for one but the fact is when people run for office they should talk about issues. They should talk about issues that have risen to a certain point, this one certainly did. I felt that I had a responsibility to talk about what my point of view was. I feel strongly that when there is an issue, a powerful and important issue candidate’s have an obligation to talk about it, not to hide from it, not to say I’m going to hide behind the committee and wait for them. I had plenty of information based on my own experience if I didn’t I would have said I am
going to wait for that committee and this is why but I felt that I had enough information being a former resident in Scotia, living in FPD#4, having tremendous relationships there and now knowledge of the structure and the service provided that I could make a decision so I did.
A couple things that I want to mention to the board I’m going to send a memo to the Supervisor tomorrow. Two other things that strike me with the current contract and a lot of it has really come to a head with this current process we need to get some contractual changes in place that are going to improve communication dialog between the Village, the Town Board because right now we are still the body that makes the final decisions and the residents in FD #4. There are things that we can do contractually to compel and I don’t mean that in a negative way but obligate the Village and frankly us to do that on a regular basis. I think that would be a healthy thing. If there is another service provider down the road I think the service provider should have to do
the exact same things.
Additionally I think we need to establish frame work where regular operation and financial information is provided to the town board. I think that has been lacking to a large extent. I think this whole Village building project maybe has brought that up a bit. People in FD #4 because they knew they were going to be potentially significantly impacted, I think were frustrated and I think all parties, this Town Board, the Village as well as the residents of FPD #4. We need to elevate our involvement on an ongoing basis and I think contractually we can get that frame work in place and I think that will be a help as well.
I am looking forward to concluding this next week.”
Supervisor Mosher – “In addition to providing us with a recommendation FPD #4 Committee gave the Town Board two responsibilities, we have to find a way to get fire protection district #4 input one way or another. They asked the Town Board with tackling the mutual aid problem. That is a serious problem. I think that Deputy Supervisor Russo would agree with me on what we heard within the committee that we need to be (the Town Board), Dan Fiorillo, County Legislator Farley, County Legislator Buhrmaster and fire chiefs to tackle and solve that mutual aid problem.”
Motion to adjourn was moved by Councilman Denney and Seconded by Councilman Quinn.
The Town of Glenville Town Board Meeting was adjourned at 10:02 PM.
Linda C. Neals