G’town Fire District expects tax levy rise

GERMANTOWN–The Board of Fire Commissioners of the Germantown Fire District talks money this month with a Public Hearing on the district’s preliminary budget for 2017, and a public meeting at which the Truck and Equipment Committee will review its research.

The hearing on the preliminary budget is Tuesday, October 18 at 7 p.m. in the firehouse, 181 Main Street.

Total appropriations in the 2017 preliminary budge are $337,653. With estimated revenues at $1,000, the amount to be raised by property taxes is $336,653.

This is a 15% increase over the 2016 budget, in which the taxable amount was $291,429.

The biggest increase comes from the need to replace the roof over the truck bays, Kerrie M.T. Abela, secretary and treasurer for the district, said Tuesday. In July a public vote was held, authorizing the district to borrow up to $150,000 for five years, to replace the roof. Nine people voted; seven approved the expense, and two opposed it.

The district put the project out to bid twice, after receiving only one bid, a high one, the first time out, said Ms. Abela. The second time “at least two” bids came in, she said. Mid-State Industries, Ltd., based in Schenectady, got the job with the lowest bid, “about $141,000.” The final cost of the loan will depend on its interest rate.

The preliminary budget is available for review at Town Hall, and will be posted in the firehouse for the meeting.

The preliminary budget contains nothing for proposed new equipment, which a district committee has been researching for over a year. That committee’s findings and recommendations will be reported in a public meeting on Monday, October 24 at 7 p.m. in the firehouse.

The committee is chaired by Roy Brown, who also chairs the fire district’s Board of Commissioners. It consists of commissioners, chiefs and two members of the fire company, all charged to look at the district’s equipment and put together a 15-year purchase and repair plan.

The committee has already made two presentations to the firefighters, and now will inform the public.

The public does not vote on the budget, said Ms. Abela. Rather, she said, “They voice their opinion and we’ll tweak things.”

The equipment would go to a vote only if the district needed to borrow for it, as it did for the roof.

In January, Mr. Brown said that the fire company had about 34 members who participated at various times, and 10 to 12 that were able to show up for a call, outside of their work.

 

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