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The Alden Town Board on Tuesday night set a public hearing on the renewal of its four fire company contracts.

The proposed contracts would increase the cost of fire protection a total 7 percent over the next three years. That means roughly $103,000 next year for each fire department, rising to roughly $107,000 for each by the third year.

Supervisor Richard Savage said that three of the four companies that provide fire protection for town residents -- Alden Hook and Ladder, Millgrove, Crittenden and Townline Fire Departments -- have verbally agreed to the proposed contracts.

Since the agreements, which expire at the end of the year, have not yet been finalized, Savage would not say which department is still uncommitted to the proposed deal.

According to Savage, all other terms of the contracts would remain the same, with each company continuing coverage in its designated area of the town. Ambulance service is provided by Rural/Metro and billed directly to clients.

The total fire budget for the town in 1999, including a service award program and dispatch service, costs taxpayers $525,612, or about $2.91 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Savage said he expects an agreement from all four companies on the proposed contracts before the public hearing, which is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Oct. 4.

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