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East Syracuse FD seeks village’s approval to go independent

The East Syracuse Fire Department is seeking the village's approval to become an independent fire district.

The East Syracuse Fire Department is seeking the village's approval to become an independent fire district. Photo by Amanda Seef.

— He’s been working to secure quotes for the insurances, as well, and can’t find rates comparable to those provided by the fire department.

“All we did was send it out to bid and we have to take people’s written quotes,” Cramer said. “We have a written quote from a business that is significantly lower.”

The village is also questioning missing costs for rent or the sale of the department’s current station, which is village-owned. The department’s apparatus is also village-owned, including the three chief cars and 10 fire-fighting trucks and rescue vehicles.

Liedka has commissioned County Comptroller Robert Antonacci’s office for help in determining the savings to village taxpayers should the department be abolished. Those numbers should be ready soon, he said.

“Of course we want to save people money, and we’ve offered to do it together,” Liedka said. “I’m disappointed because several times, in public meetings, we offered to help.”

The department has not formally presented the idea of dissolving the department to the town. At a Jan. 9 DeWitt Town Board meeting, the topic of the East Syracuse fire contract was on the agenda. That discussion spurred an informal presentation on the department’s plans, Cramer said.

The fire department’s decision to go to the town, however, isn’t sitting well with Liedka.

“Right out of the gate, it creates bad blood that doesn’t need to exist,” he said.

Cramer says he and the department have been open in speaking with the village.

“There is no bad blood between the fire department and the village,” he said. “This is just the fire company securing the future, we want to make sure we still have a fire company down the road. We don’t have anything against the village. The only reason we spoke with the town is because the town brought it up at a public meeting. It was just the town bringing it up on a public agenda at their own meeting. Other than that, we haven’t really had many conversations with the town at all.”

In order for the fire department to proceed into an independent district, which would cover the footprint of East Syracuse and the northern section of DeWitt, including Carrier Circle and part of Hancock Airport, the village trustees would have to vote to abolish the department. Cramer says the department does not have plans, as of now, should the village refuse to do so.

“If there are savings to be had, let’s work together and try to find them — together,” Liedka said.

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