Firefighter Tom Brown, a 13-year veteran of the Camillus Volunteer Fire Department, gears up in the firehouse on Newport Road.
Photo by Amanda Seef.
“I feel we shouldn’t be penalized for trying to save money.”
— Doug Groesbeck
continued “As a village fire department, this is the only way we can save money,” Groesbeck said. “That is still money that is being put away, it’s not like the village is going to give it back. The village can’t just take it and put it in their coffers, it goes into the reserve funds.”
On average, Groesbeck says the department puts between $10,000 to $15,000 total in the two accounts each year.
“We did a good job of not spending money this year in order to get that fund back up,” Groesbeck said. “We can’t run with that fund empty.”
At year’s end, the department had $13,147.49 in the two accounts.
“This isn’t the first year we have ended with a surplus, but at the end of the year, you can see where it dwindles down,” Groesbeck said.
But Antonacci says typical municipal entities should be putting between 5 and 15 percent in the reserve funds — the anticipated $51,675 is 20 percent of the operational budget.
“We’re talking about a half a million dollar budget. To have a surplus, I would like to know where their estimates went awry or were miscalculated,” Antonacci said. “That’s a large surplus for such a small budget. To me, anything more than 5 percent is probably more than enough. It would seem to me that that cash should be returned to the taxpayers.”
Groesbeck doesn’t expect to give any of the surplus back to the village.
“That’s up to discussion with the village board,” he said. “I feel we shouldn’t be penalized for trying to save money.”
The preliminary surplus could be lower once final, reconciled numbers come in for December, Mayor Patricia Butler said.
“It sounds like an enormous amount of money, and I’m not saying that it’s not,” she said. “But is it likely to be that much money? No. Should there be a substantial amount, when we know the amount, I will go back to the fire department and speak to the powers at be to see where this money should go and see where we should absorb it.”