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Manlius Village Board considers proposal

The proposed joint fire district between Fayetteville and Manlius now lays in the hands of the Manlius Village Board. Three of the four municipalities involved have voted to approve an intensive study that will focus on financial analyses and potential pitfalls that could come from creating one fire district.

The towns of Manlius and Pompey and the village of Fayetteville are in agreement that a study should be pursued. Trustees from the Manlius Village Board, however, expressed concerns at a special meeting held in the early hours of Jan. 2.

Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olson listed J. Gordon Routley as the professional consultant up for hire to conduct the study. Routley, a fire protection engineer with dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship, has offices in Kirkland, Quebec and Champlain, N.Y. Routley's company, which has completed several similar studies nationally, including one with the town of Camillus, was sought out by officials to do the study, Olson said. He added that Routley received excellent reviews from Camillus Supervisor Mary Ann Coogan. Officials looked at one other company but the cost and timeframe to do the study were higher and longer. Trustee Natalie Miner said she would like to see requests for proposals (RFPs) made before locking into a contract with Routley, noting that she didn't believe the search for a consulting company was done as an open process.

Additionally, Miner said the steering committee being formed needs to be broad in scope and include a taxpayer as well as a career firefighter. Others agreed the committee would need to meet together and set an agenda prior to holding talks with Routley, who, if hired, could start the 90-day project within a week's timeframe.

If approved, the study's cost would be divided between the four municipalities at $5,500 each. Olson said officials are looking into a state grant program for $25,000, and, if obtained, would cover the total cost of the study. If it is not approved, the cost would then become part of the annual fire budgets and be spread equally within each municipality's budget.

The board plans to further address the issues and call for a vote at its next meeting Jan. 13. If the board votes down any study, the joint fire district concept will be killed. If they choose to approve a study, whether it's with Routley or another company, discussions will continue to move forward.

Absent from the meeting were trustees Eric Krouse and Scott McGrew; Trustee Mark-Paul Serafin showed up late.

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