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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 3, 2011

Voorheesville to pay consultant $10K to study need for fire truck

By Jo E. Prout

VOORHEESVILLE — The village board is “ready to go” ahead with its plan to study whether or not the Voorheesville Fire Department needs another truck.

The board will hire independent consultant EVR, a company that assesses a district’s needs and suggests a five- to 10-year plan, said village Trustee John Stevens at the board meeting last Tuesday.

The study will cost the village $9,800, Stevens said.

“We’re ready to go now,” he said.

In a tight 2010 budget year, the village board had turned down a request from Frank Papa, then the fire chief, for a new truck that could cost up to $400,000. Afterward, the New Scotland Town Board in a 4-to-0 vote agreed to apply for funds with the Voorheesville department as part of a mutual aid agreement.

Last week, Stevens said that town board member Douglas LaGrange joined Stevens and Voorheesville Mayor Robert Conway at a meeting with EVR representative Michael Wilbur. EVR is short for Emergency Vehicle Response, and the company’s website is www.emergencyvehicleresponse.com.

According to Stevens, the town might need a new firehouse if the proposed Tall Timber neighborhood is built. If EVR investigates both the village and the town of New Scotland’s needs at one time, Stevens said, the cost of the study could be reduced to $8,800.

At last Wednesday’s town board meeting, however, the board did not agree to pay for a study, and did not indicate that it had plans to build a new firehouse. Members of the New Salem Fire Department present at the meeting said that they are aware of their equipment needs, and the money would be better spent on infrastructure, like more fire hydrants.

“We’re going, with or without them,” Stevens told the village board last Tuesday, meaning that the village would hire EVR to conduct an independent study, even if it could not “piggyback off the town” to reduce the cost, he said. “We were impressed with them. It’s pretty extensive.” Local towns, including Coeymans and Athens (Greene Co.), have also hired EVR recently.

Stevens said that the study would take four to six weeks and would involve the fire department members. A report of the study would be available before May so that a truck might be purchased in 2011. The village planned to purchase a new truck in 2012, but costs per truck increase about $40,000 per year, Stevens said. Paying for the study could save the extra cost, he said.

“There’s your cost savings right now,” Stevens said.

Three members of the village board are fire department members: David Cardona, William Hotaling, and Richard Berger.

Other business

In other business, the village board:

— Heard from Village Attorney Anne-Jo McTague that firefighters not following the Length of Service Award Program, or LOSAP, investments administered by Penflex, Inc. may need to sign a waiver.

McTague said that she heard from the state comptroller’s office that allowing firefighters to choose their investments “ ‘is not illegal. It’s not smart.’ ”

Local firefighters have watched investment opportunities and made different choices, she said.

“Some of our guys are doing well with it, and don’t want to change it,” McTague said;

— Approved Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Hebert’s request to require permits for residents who replace windows, and to charge $25 per application per site.

Hebert said that residents should be “required to have a permit because of the [state] energy code.” With each application, he would check the energy efficiency and the egress of each window, he said.

“A lot of municipalities are doing it,” Hebert said.

“This is getting to be ridiculous,” said Frank Papa, who attended the meeting to discuss the fire-station study. “When I open the window to breathe, do I need a permit? You can’t do anything on your own land.”

“I don’t think we have a choice,” said members of the board.

“There is no choice,” Cardona said; and

— Agreed to adopt the ambulance contract for 2011, effective Jan. 1 until Dec. 31.

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