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Fire district approves budget, new members

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CARTHAGE — At the Carthage-Wilna Fire District’s Oct. 30 meeting, commissioners passed the budget, accepted new fire department members, approved funding for turnout gear and heard reports from the fire chief and head driver.

The district will need to raise $541,000 through taxes for the $598,049 spending plan, resulting in a tax rate of $2.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value for district residents. Last year, the tax levy was $527,670, with a tax rate of $2.44 per $1,000. The district saw a 1.5 percent growth in its tax base.

The budget includes a 2 percent pay raise for all drivers and a 1 percent incentive for qualified drivers. The salary for the secretary-treasurer was set at $1,500 per month.

Tyler Schermerhorn, John Garvey and Zachary Bonomo were approved to begin the probationary process in the Carthage Fire Department.

The board appointed Linda Prashaw as chairman for the Board of Elections to oversee the December elections to fill the commissioner position currently held by Norman Barkley. Anyone interested in serving as a commissioner for the five-year term should send a letter of intent to Ms. Prashaw at Carthage-Wilna Fire District, 685 S. James St. Carthage, N.Y. 13619. Joan Draper and Judy New were appointed to serve as election inspectors. Compensation for the chairwoman and inspectors was set at $35 each for the voting time.

The commissioners approved a transfer of $13,000 from the turnout gear reserve fund to the general fund for the purchase of seven sets of gear. To completely outfit each firefighter with a helmet, hood, gloves, boots, coat, pants and pager costs approximately $3,000.

Fire Chief Sean P. McHale reported the department held an open house during fire-prevention week and visited Augustinian Academy and Carthage Elementary. He said it was scary to hear a number of children say their homes do not have smoke detectors.

The chief said fire calls were down by nearly 100 with only 149 calls this calendar year. He pointed out attendance at calls was good, especially with new members. He said the department had approved the establishment of a drill team and an auxiliary.

Head Fire Driver Brian Draper reported the new fire engine is back from being outfitted with brackets for auto-extraction tools. He said the all-terrain vehicle rescue toboggan is back in service.

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