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Lysander councilors question BVFD contract

After a lengthy conversation regarding the Baldwinsville Volunteer Fire Department's 2008-2011 contract, Lysander officials voted 4 -- 1 to approve the contract.

Discrepancies with the contract lied with what councilors Brian May and Jack Krisanda described as a lack of a plan beyond 2011. Besides a desire to build a firehouse in the Smokey Hollow district, which covers Lysander's portion of the two-town contract, the department lacks a financial plan to make it happen.

"I support what you do, but we want some assurances in Lysander," May said. "I want to see a reserve being built."

The approved contract covers the towns of Lysander and Van Buren, and calls for an 18-percent increase in finances the first year for capital improvements including construction of a new firehouse in Van Buren. The second year there will be no increase and third and fourth years the towns of Van Buren and Lysander will see a 3-percent decrease each year.

"In four years, what did Lysander get for this, outside of coverage?" Krisanda asked.

"Eighteen percent is going strictly across the river and you're not doing one extra service for the people of Lysander," Councilor George Rowland added. However, he said that he would vote for the contract only because his constituents seem in favor of it.

May suggested holding off approval until board members and the BVFD worked on creating a reserve for the department. Supervisor Barry Bullis argued that the board doesn't pick apart budgets of other contractors, so why pick apart the BVFD?

"Their ISO level is 3. It's the best in the town of Lysander. They have 70 guys on the roster. They responded to 385 calls in the Lysander area last year. What is broken? I don't understand," Bullis said, adding that the former Baldwinsville Fire Department serviced the Smokey Hollow district from outside for years without a problem.

The town sent out more than 1,700 letters to residents regarding the contract and only received five negative responses. Bullis, Krisanda, Rowland and councilor Art Levy voted in favor of the contract. May voted against the contract.

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