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Contract with fire companies OK'd

A contract that grants a 3 percent annual raise for the town's five volunteer fire companies was approved Monday night.

The Town Board voted unanimously to accept the agreement, which runs from 2012 to 2014.

The first year will pay a rate of $193,640, followed by subsequent annual rates of $199,450 and $205,430.

Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe, who negotiated the deal along with Councilman Arthur Gerbec, called the contract beneficial for both the companies and the taxpayers.

"They do an unbelievable amount of work for very little," Cliffe said. "It was very, very reasonable."

The companies are all on the lower end of the pay scale when compared with others across the state, he noted. All the individual companies need to have fundraisers to support their operations. In the last three-year deal, the annual increases were about 9 percent.

In another matter, the board will review a proposal by the YMCA to run a summer day camp in the town youth center rather than close the facility as in the past two years.

Councilman Larry Helwig said the organization will take over the facility five days a week, hire existing staff and pay the utility bills. The high cost of utilities was one of the reasons the board decided to close the center to save money during the warm weather.

While participants from other municipalities will be solicited, Wheatfield residents would be given a 20 percent discount for the camp.

Representatives from the "Y" will give a public presentation at 7 p.m. before the April 11 board meeting.

In other business, the board:

*Approved a public improvement project application for phase one of the Brookfield Subdivision on the east side of Ward Road, near Brent Drive, to begin with 10 homes. There are numerous conditions the developer, Ryan Homes, must meet before construction can start. There is a major concern about drainage, according to the resolution. The project, which will eventually have 84 homes, was originally approved in 2008 but "went to sleep with the economy," said engineer Tim Walck of Wendel-Duchscherer Architects & Engineers.

*Failed to pay a $216.95 claim filed by a town resident who said town snowplows ripped her invisible fence for dog control out of the ground this past winter. The device was installed about 12 inches from the pavement, which some councilmen commented was not a reasonable distance.

e-mail: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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