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LETTERS: Mayor explains Fayetteville fire station finances

To the editor:

The recent special meetings and ultimate override of the 2 percent tax cap in the town of Manlius has caused some discussion around the renovated Fayetteville Fire Department station. The village of Fayetteville has worked hard to plan and budget costs and revenues, especially in light of the changes with the county, so our trustees fully appreciate the difficulty faced by all towns, including Manlius.

The process to renovate the fire department facility began five years ago. Throughout these past five years the Village carried out a thorough internal process followed by a thorough community dialogue. The Town of Manlius was an active and involved part of that process. The rationale, costs and considerations were analyzed and debated by all involved. Multiple public hearings, meetings with town officials, meetings with village residents and meetings with groups of citizens concerned for different reasons all culminated in a public referendum where the project was approved.

That was in July of 2009. Since then, the planning and execution of the renovations have been carried out in a timely and efficient manner. The involved planning process has played out in a manner where the costs for the village and the town have come to fruition well within the target range. The decisions by the town of Manlius board and the costs associated with those decisions have been known for some time. The town board vote last week, as tough as it was, reflected the costs of the fire and EMS service provided by Fayetteville and did not contain any surprises.

The Fayetteville Fire Department will finish 2011 as another banner year with the highest call volume in its history. On average, the FFD will send out ambulances and fire apparatus to almost 10 calls per day. The combined department, made up of 12 career and more than 60 volunteer professionals, provides outstanding service to the village and many town of Manlius residents outside the village proper. In reality, the vast majority of responses are to locations outside of the village boundaries. It is for that reason the costs are shared by the village and the town. North East Medical Center and multiple senior housing facilities, all outside of the village, add significantly to our call volume. Our community is a great place to live, and each of these places add to that community, so the emergency services provided by Fayetteville contribute to our quality of life.

The costs of providing fire and EMS services are escalating. The village of Fayetteville understands the costs added by the station renovations add to that escalation. We continue to focus on how to keep those costs controlled at the same time our quality and service remain top notch.

Mark Olson, Mayor of Fayetteville

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