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Boston takes action on fire contracts

Boston Town Board members plan to extend contracts with the town's three volunteer fire companies for one month.

The extension will give the board time to schedule and advertise a public hearing on new contracts with firefighters.

The board will hold an emergency meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Town Hall to extend the contracts and schedule the hearing for Jan. 19.

"We all got what we wanted," Supervisor Martin A. Ballowe said of the multiyear agreement.

The outcome had been in doubt.

After an emotional and confrontational hearing Dec. 15, the supervisor agreed to meet with firefighters for one more negotiation session. That meeting produced concessions and progress, and both sides were hopeful for a peaceful end to the conflict.

Richard Hawkins, the president of Patchin Fire Company and the spokesman for firefighters, said after the meeting that the fire companies agreed to give the town what it wanted, which was more financial information

"Like any type of negotiation, there is give and take," he said. "The main objective is to have fire protection for the town."

The Town Board in August canceled the firefighting contracts as of Dec. 31 and wanted to negotiate new ones. The two sides couldn't reach an agreement, and firefighters warned that if they had no contract, they would not have the legal authority to answer emergency calls or respond to fires.


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