Manlius town budget approved in nick of time

Manlius Town Board members approved the 2009 budget during a three-hour meeting Nov. 19 after struggling with the Village of Manlius Fire Department to come up with a final budget number, the last day before it was due to the state.

The board questioned two main areas of the village of Manlius fire budget, which increased by 23 percent from last year, including ambulance billing revenue and the state-required radios.

Fire Chief Paul Whorrall defended the decision to cut ambulance billing in the 2009 budget because there might be fewer calls and fewer people paying the bills, he said, even as the other two fire departments within the town increased their projections.

Whorrall estimated that the village of Manlius fire budget set aside $30,000 for radios, but some of the board suggested removing that amount to keep it consistent with the other villages, who have not accounted for the radios.

"There is a good chance that the town would not be liable for them," Tetley said. "The county might be able to pay for some of it."

County legislator Kevin Holmquist, who attended the meeting, said he was hopeful to get the surcharge to pass, even though Gov. David A. Paterson has vetoed the measure. It would cost approximately $300,000 to purchase radios for all of the villages and the town.

"It's wishful thinking to think that the town and the villages are not going to have to put down anything," said village of Minoa Fire Chief Pat Flannery, who also attended the meeting with several other firefighters from the district.

The board approved the estimated $1,054,000 fire budget for the village of Manlius, excluding the radios, and has made tentative plans to finance the expense together.

Representatives from the village of Manlius were not able to attend the public hearings for fire budgets three weeks ago when the villages of Fayetteville and Minoa held theirs.

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