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TOWN OFFERS 15.5% HIKE TO TOWN FIRE COMPANIES

The Lancaster Town Board is offering fire protection agreements with an average 15.5 percent increase to its four all-volunteer companies, but some firefighters say that amount is inadequate.

Bill MacPeek, chief of the Bowmansville Volunteer Fire Association, said volunteers spend 50 to 70 hours a year in fund-rasing to cover 40 percent of their budget. That time is in addition to the average 265 hours recorded by the men answering alarms and attending training.

"The town should pick up more," MacPeek said.

Supervisor Stanley Jay Keysa disagreed, saying he believed the offer was more than fair at a time when the state government and many town governments are "retrenching."

Bob Sinclair, a Bowmansville member for 20 years, said the association was anticipating spending $500,000 to $750,000 to maintain the station house and build a new one within five years at a cost of $150,000. The association already is purchasing a minimum level of equipment, he added.

Under a formula that uses last year's budget, a minimum 4 percent inflation factor and growth, Bowmansville would receive $182,373, a 12 percent increase. The Millgrove Volunteer Fire Department would get $16,713, a 9.24 percent rate; Town Line, $107.426, a 13 percent hike, and the Twin District Company, $117,106, a 25 percent jump.

Bowmansville members also criticized the Town Board saying it did not meet to negotiate the contract and, as it did last year, recommended negotiations begin earlier. Keysa denied the town did not bargain fairly.

A resolution to execute the fire protection agreement was withdrawn until the wording could be modified. The resolution is expected to be voted on at the next meeting.

The agreement would run from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 1992.

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