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Fire companies balk at, then discuss, merger

Jan 30, 2011 10:40 pm
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="The Philmont and Mellenville fire departments are being urged to consolidate, merge, share services or do something to ensure their survival during this time of shrinking state and federal aid to all agencies, emergency or not."][/caption]It seems to be the trend of the times... local town, village and hamlet services, sometimes even school districts, seeking to share services in an attempt to streamline costs and create new efficiencies. The Register-Star reported on January 30 that members of the Mellenville Fire Company discussed sharing services, or possibly combining firehouses, with members of the Philmont Fire Company at a Philmont Village Hall meeting last Wednesday, January 26 where Village Trustee Larry Ostrander brought up age concerns regarding the Philmont Fire Company, along with a drop in new memberships, growing building needs, and increasingly outdated equipment.


According to reporter Francesca Olsen, Vern Higgins replied by noting the "negativity" on the village's part. “I could see us sharing a building but not combining,” added Mellenville Chief Danny Winter. Ed Jacklyn, chairman of the Mellenville board of fire commissioners, went on to say that he saw a merger where the companies shared equipment and duties. Finally, Claverack councilman Michael Johnston said a new firehouse could be looked at as a “community center for the area” and that resources were available in New York for agencies sharing services. He encouraged the firemen to look for resources in the community — maybe merging or offering to share space with an EMT service, or asking local banks for financing help, after which the fire companies decided to discuss the matter separately — both already have committees assigned to talk about the idea — and return to the village board in March or April.It's something even counties are looking into regarding jails.

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