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Tri-board discusses fire department

DUNDEE—Dec. 3, representatives of the the village of Dundee and the towns of Starkey and Barrington met at the Starkey town hall in Dundee. The municipalities join from time to time to discuss issues common all three, rotating the site of the meetings each time.
Manure spreading is one common issue and Starkey supervisor Richard Burcaw asked if there had been problems, particularly how it can get into different aquifers and eventually to the lake. Barrington supervisor Eileen Farnan referred to a study done a few years ago when Keuka and Seneca Lakes were tested along with Big Stream. Farnan said in order to spread the farmer must have a nutrient management plan. Barrington councilman Nate Olney said he had attended a meeting in the town of Benton and complaints were mostly about the smell.
The proposed incorporation of the Dundee fire department was discussed. Starkey and Barrington contract with the Dundee Fire department for fire protection in either all or a portion of their town. Dundee Fire Chief Dan Peterson outlined the reasons the organization would like to incorporate at this time. Past chief Raymie Miller said all fire contract money is used for equipment. Burcaw asked who would pay into the retirement program (Length of Service Award Program or LOSAP) and Dundee mayor Fred Cratsley Jr. said the village would pay it. Additional questions concerned which items would be owned by the incorporated entity, which would be known as Dundee Fire Company, and Peterson said in addition to the Buffalo truck trophies, which are now considered to be village-owned, would belong to the company.
Cratsley said the fire department would continue as before, adding, “Once they incorporate they can own tangible items, for example the Buffalo truck.” The new group would have its own board of directors and would have to report to the state. Miller said, “We’re not going to hoard up money. We will be audited more strictly than in the past.” Farnan asked what precipitated the proposed change and Peterson said because of funding and donations the department needs to be incorporated. The department was incorporated in the 1950s. Miller said auditing also figured in the decision to pursue incorporation.
Peterson commented on some of the difficulties related to operating both the ambulance and fire department, commenting, “Up until November we had 417 calls for ambulance. Due to state training mandates we’re getting strapped for volunteers during the day.” Miller outlined the training mandates that make recruiting volunteers more difficult. Starkey councilman Jim Ritter said, “I don’t know if there is anything we can do to help. They (New York State) need to relax the requirements.” Near the end of the discussion, Starkey Councilman Fred Shoemaker said, “You do a good job.”
Marcellus Shale drilling has been a focus of interest throughout the area and Farnan reported on a recent symposium she attended in Owego. She said the basics of Marcellus shale were covered, adding, “The bottom line is that towns have to realize the only way anyone will have any control is the use of the roads. Everything else was exempted years ago except the roads. When these companies come, and they will come, the fuel is here and needed in this country, the part we have to realize is that when it comes to your town it will be here for 20 or 30 years. The consensus is that we should all have the same procedures in place. If we all stick together, it should be easier for everyone. It can work. We have to be diligent and make sure everything is in black and white. You have until December 31 to submit written comments to the DEC (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”
The past season at Black Rock Speedway was also on the agenda. The discussion revolved around some evenings when the track operated until early morning. The facility is on Route 14A in the town of Starkey, just south of the Dundee village limits. Cratsley said he doesn’t think the late hour was intentional, adding, “From a village standpoint, it’s not a huge issue for us. For what it brings into the village, it’s a positive thing.” Cratsley said the village had not received complaints about the hours of operation. Shoemaker, referring to one night when racing continued until 3 a.m., commented, “There should be a little common sense.”
Tri-board does not meet on any set schedule. The next meeting will be planned when there are issues arise that the three municipalities need to discuss.

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