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Fire department changes in Macedon?

Posted at: 03/11/2013 4:02 PM
Updated at: 03/11/2013 6:26 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

The town board in Macedon wants to make a big changes to fire protection there and this news is concerning to some of the people who live and work there.

Right now, the Village of Macedon Fire Department protects most of the area south of the Erie Canal in both the town and village. If the town gets its way, that department would only be responsible for the village. And the Macedon Center Fire Department would cover the entire town.

The supervisor says it isn't a money issue. He says it is basically happening because the Macedon Village Board and Macedon Town Board can't get along and are cutting all ties. And now, the town wants the Macedon Center Fire Department to take over fire protection in the town.

Right now, the Village of Macedon Fire Department covers the village and most of the town south of the Erie Canal. The Macedon Center Department patrols most of the area north. If this proposal goes through, the village department would cover just the village and everything else would be picked up by Macedon Center.

News10NBC spoke to the chief of the Village of Macedon Fire Department about this change.

Chief Tim Wilcox, Village of Macedon Fire Department, said, “Response times would considerably go up with the way the equipment is stationed now. Right now, our response time, out the door and to a scene is about six minutes. Macedon Center would considerably be higher cause they have that additional six to seven minutes of travel time to reach this side of the canal.”

James Falanga has owned a business in Macedon for 25 years and he thinks this change is a bad idea.

James Falanga said, “You can only do so much, so if you are miles away and it takes you that much longer to respond to an emergency situation than you are putting people in harm with that.”

News10NBC took those concerns to the town of Macedon supervisor.

Bill Hammond, Town of Macedon Supervisor, said, “Really, it goes back to our relationship with the Macedon Village Board. I think, over the last nine months, our relationship has eroded to the point that we don't have the confidence and trust in them anymore to provide us with services that we desire and we need.”

News10NBC's Amanda Ciavarri said, “Is that worth putting some of your residents in harm's way?”

Hammond said, “I don't see that we are putting residences in harm's way. We are contracting with a department that is capable. They will be building a facility within the fire mile radius so I don't think those people should fear the difference between the two companies.”

The new fire station would have to be built before Macedon Center takes over the service starting January 1, 2014, but the chief of the village fire department says it's not just response times he is concerned about, it's the specialized services they provide.

Wilcox said, “We are the only department that covers the five miles of the Erie Canal, and goes through with specialized rescue dive team, ice rescue teams and a recover boat. We are the only department in the district that has an aerial ladder truck to serve the residents and large businesses that are in the district.”

The supervisor's response to that was that he doesn't think a ladder truck is needed in a town like Macedon and he has full faith in the skills of the Macedon Center volunteer firefighters.

There will be a public hearing in Macedon at 7:35 p.m. Thursday to decide which fire department to go with. If you want to speak at that, you are encourage to show up early because numbers will be handed out.

The chief of the village fire department says the change will not save the town of Macedon tax payer money. The proposed five year contract with Macedon Center has a built in three percent increase every year.
 
The supervisor says this is the first time they have done a five year contract, they usually negotiate every year. So the increase is expected for the length of the contract. Also, the cost of the new fire station would be covered in that budget for the first year.