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Doubts aired about joint fire district

The first public signs of doubt pertaining to the Fayetteville Manlius joint fire district surfaced at the Dec. 9 Manlius Village Board meeting. The public raised concerns over how fast the process is moving as well as the legal aspects of the proposed leadership structure.

The board was asked how an economic study can be done, and if it's even logical to determine the benefits, specifically when, so far, there are no numbers indicating the cost of purchasing or leasing the fire stations that would be involved in the fire district.

Residents also challenged the speed of which this proposal is moving. Since it is not currently legal to have two co-fire chiefs equally in charge, as is proposed in the Memo of Understanding, residents asked the board how much further this proposal can go before being tossed out altogether.

Additionally, residents pointed out that the consultant who may be hired to complete the study is not local, but rather from Quebec, Canada. Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olsen was on the agenda to present fire protection engineer J. Gordon Routley's proposal, but did not make the meeting. Routley had been fire chief in Shreveport, La. and is a member of the board of directors of the Safety, Health and Survival section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (NYSAFC).

Trustee Scott McGrew agreed the process has been moving too fast and re-emphasized that at any point, if any of the four municipalities, which include the towns of Manlius and Pompey and the villages of Fayetteville and Manlius, pull out of the talks, the project would immediately dissolve.

Both Mayor Rick Penhall and Trustee Eric Krouse were absent from the meeting.

Jennifer Kiefl is a regular contributing writer for the Eagle Newspapers.

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