continued The fire district would be completely removed from the village and would instead be operated by a board of commissioners, five unpaid publicly elected officials. In Onondaga County, DeWitt, Jamesville and Salina are among the municipalities that already use fire districts. Currently, there are more than 800 fire districts in New York state.
One concern among residents is the fact that the village would not be reimbursed for the equipment it had already purchased for the fire department. Mayor Bob Tackman said that before he commits to making a decision on the matter, he wants to continue to work with the board to determine what’s in the best interest for East Syracuse residents.
“I’m not saying we’re for it and I’m not saying we’re opposed to it,” Tackman said. “Before we make a decision, we want to see what the budget is looking like for next year. We also want to work with the fire department to see what we can do to make this more transparent – to show that the village isn’t stealing money from the town and that we’re putting it towards the fire department.”
Tackman said that the village added $100,000 into the fire department’s reserve fund in the most recent budget. He said that his main focus is on how to lower the village’s tax rate and that he doesn’t anticipate the issue of a fire district coming up at the board’s meeting on Monday.
In order for the fire district idea to move forward, the village board would have to make a motion to abolish the department. At the same time, the town and village boards would have to make a motion to accept the new district. Finally, there would be a joint public hearing between the village and town residents before a final decision could be made.