New officers to take charge
By Christina Salloum
Last week, the new officers of the Marcellus Fire Department were sworn in. Town Supervisor Dan Ross did the honors, marking the first time a town official performed the swearing-in ceremony. The new officers take office on Jan. 1.
Two years ago, the 122-year-old Marcellus Fire Department separated from the village and became independent entity.
This year marks the first time that the officers' election and induction occurred in December, with officers taking their posts in January. In the past, new officers were sworn in during April. This was a problem because it put the new officers out of sync with the town budgets that ran a regular calendar year: January to December, said Jesse Faulkner, fire department president.
Now that the fire department and the town are working on the same budget schedule, the department can be much more efficient with its planning and spending, thereby lowering taxes. In the past "officers that created the budget didn't know where they would be or how much they would need by the time the budget passed," Faulkner said. Prior to becoming independent, the department could only plan year-to-year.
Now, the department can plan out three to five years on many projects.
In previous years, the town and village governments battled over accountability of tax money that collected by the town and given to the village, which would then include fire department expenditures in its budget. This process offered minimal accountability to the town. As an independent entity, the fire department now has its own budget; the contract money is given straight to the department, which maintains 100-percent accountability.