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Five-year contract for city, rescue squad

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The Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad and the city agreed Monday to a new, five-year service contract in spite of doubts about responsibility for snow removal and water and sewer service.

The city council 5-1-1 in favor of the contract. R. Storm Cilley abstained because he is the squad’s treasurer.

Wayne L. Ashley cast the sole opposing vote. He is worried about the standard snow removal clause which has the city public works department plowing the squad driveway for emergency vehicle access. With the squad’s future headquarters at the larger, 59,925-square-foot former Hackett Hardware store at 1223 Pickering St., he is concerned there will be more to plow at the city’s expense.

“Don’t get me wrong, they’re doing a good job,” Mr. Ashley said. “But until I see it in black and white, everything is subject to change.”

Kenneth J. Gardner, the squad’s director of operations, assured the council that only the squad’s use of 24,000 square feet of the building will requires snow removal - the emergency vehicle access and some public access. Similarly, continued free city water and sewer service will apply to the squad-used section of the building.

Non-squad use like renters will be metered and taxed.

“We just want to serve the community,” Mr. Gardner said. “That is all we want to do.”

In other contract terms, the city will:

—Sell the squad gasoline and diesel fuel at cost as before. The 2012 bill was $16,500, Mr. Gardner said.

—Provide docking space with water and electricity in the city marina for the squad rescue boat.

—Provide through the fire department free breathing air for squad scuba tanks and air bottles.

—Sponsor the volunteers for coverage under the St. Lawrence County Worker’s Compensation Program. The annual average over 21 years has been $4,996, Mr. Cilley said.

Voting in favor of the contract were Mayor William D. Nelson, Deputy Michael D. Morley, Jennifer Stevenson, William D. Hosmer and Daniel E. Skamperle.

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