Pomfret, Fredonia at odds over fire contract - The Buffalo News

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Pomfret, Fredonia at odds over fire contract

FREDONIA – The Fredonia Village Board sprayed cold water on the Town of Pomfret’s proposed 2014 fire-protection contract during a special meeting Friday in Village Hall.

Pomfret officials sought a single-year contract reflecting an increase of $9,000. The village, on the other hand, is digging in its heels on a two-year proposal with a total increase of $13,000.

The contract would cover fire protection and emergency services in the town, with the exception of Lily Dale, which has its own fire company. The town has no fire company within its boundaries.

The village is seeking payments of $420,000 for 2014 and $425,000 in 2015.

Meanwhile, time is running out on an agreement, which would end with the new year.

Mayor Steve Keefe sent a letter outlining terms of the village’s offer to Pomfret Supervisor Don Steger and the Town Board on Oct. 28. The letter, outlining the terms of the contract, was returned with items crossed out and deleted.

Meanwhile, Pomfret Town Board members have scheduled a public hearing for Dec. 30 to approve payment on a one-year fire contract.

Because of Friday’s development, whether that hearing will be held is up in the air, Steger said.

Keefe defended the terms of the village’s contract offer as a good deal. Fredonia has a combination of paid and volunteer firefighters in the department and an emergency rescue service.

Though the two boards have not met on contract terms, Keefe said he and Pomfret Councilwoman Ann Eckman met in October and she had agreed with the terms.

“The formula in the contract works for us, and she thought it was fair,” the mayor said.

Keefe in his letter to the Town Board noted the contract included increases in health care and wages for the paid firefighters.

Officials of Chautauqua County Emergency Services Office said they would not comment on or get involved in the negotiations. A spokeswoman said the contract would have to be worked out between the two communities. If there is no contract, it is unclear if Fredonia’s firefighters would respond to an emergency under the state-mandated mutual-aid agreement, according to Keefe. To approve a new fire-protection contract, the Town Board would have to schedule a public hearing before the Town Board conducts a vote.

In other matters, the board accepted the resignation of firefighter Michael Schwartfeger, effective Dec. 31.

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