Monday, November 26, 2007

Willowvale Fire Co., Inc. Vote December 11, 2007

We had to take a trip to the Town Clerk's office today to pick up the FS-6T Vehicle Surrender receipts that the Highway secretary was able to find. (Wait until you read the ending to this fiasco!).

Anyway, while we were there, we inquired about whether a public meeting had been set-up for the December 11, 2007 vote for the residents in the Willowvale Fire District. Answer...not yet, but the clerk's office thought they (whoever they are) were working on it. The vote is in two weeks...nothing like putting it off until the last minute.

To try to give residents some information, we thought we would post the Notice of Special Election. If you live in the Willowvale Fire District, it might be wise to read this so you know what you are voting on. For more detail, you may want to read the resolution that was passed at the September 12, 2007 board meeting. You might also notice that the resolution that was passed stated that there was not only going to be a public meeting, but information was going to be mailed to each home. Just goes to show that you should probably not believe everything you read...even if it is a resolution unanimously passed and ADOPTED by the New Hartford Town Board.

The vote is December 11, 2007 at the Willowvale Fire Station from noon to 8 p.m. You will be voting on a Service Award Program in accordance with Section 216 of the General Municipal Law.

THE PARTICULARS:

The cost is $76,000 per year or if our math is correct...check with the Town Clerk's office for exact figures...it will cost about $.54 additional per thousand of assessed value. So if your house is assessed for $100,000 you would be charged an additional $54.00 per year on your town & county tax bill to cover this Program, if passed. If you have a $250,000 assessment, you will be charged an additional $135 per year. The effective date is January 1, 2008. The current tax rate for the Willowvale Fire District is $1.97...so if this program is passed, the total Fire Protection tax rate on your next town & county tax bill would be $2.51 per thousand.

Only residents in the Willowvale Fire District are eligible to vote. If you already appear on the registered voter list from the Oneida County Board of Elections, you will not need to do anything extra to vote. Otherwise, if you are not a registered voter and you wish to vote, personal registration will be held Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at the Willowvale Fire Station from 4 - 8 p.m.

Absentee ballots are available, but WRITTEN application MUST BE made to the Town Clerk...call the Town Clerk's office for more information on absentee ballots.

If we learn of a public meeting to discuss this Service Award Program, we will post it on our websites and blog. Talk to your neighbors and let them know about this vote!

Tomorrow we will get back to the surrender of license plates...stay tuned!

6 comments:

Traveling Man said...

Willowvale residents will be getting "screwed" if they are not told about this exhorbitant and wasteful spending of resident taxpayer monies.

People, WAKE -UP...and take back your Government!

Hardworking Committed Vol. FF said...

This is not wasteful.
These volunteers work very hard for the citizens they serve. The volunteer Fire Dept.'s in our town save countless tax dollars over having to pay for paid fire protection services. This is not open for conjecture, it is fact.
Some people on here are against anything and everything just for spite with an added twist of venom to boot.
Its a shame some are so hell bent on getting the powers that be out, that nothing is worthy of support even if it is for a good cause.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Hardworking committed vol. ff,

It would appear that you are the one with venom. Not one word on this blog has said don't vote for the plan. Unlike the "official" town website, we do not advise anyone how to vote. That is up to every individual in the Willowvale Fire Dept. We merely brought information regarding the vote to the public.

The only thing we said was it is a shame that according to Councilman Payne at the last town board meeting the fire chief did not want to let people know about the vote.

The information we posted should have been brought to the public's attention by the Willowvale Fire Company; it should not have been news that needed to be 'broke' by us. If you feel so strongly about the plan, give the people the information they need to make their own 'informed' decision.

Anonymous said...

I will not get dragged into a match with anyone further on this as it appears that is the objective of the blog - to think one way, or have you head chopped off. As is evident in your reply to me.
Anyway, all I will say to clarify my previous post is that I was addressing "traveling man"'s post. Not the blog itself. Sorry if you took it out of context and took it as an afront to this blog.
"traveling man" called the issue Exhorbitant and wasteful, and I was commenting back on it. Nothing more than his opinion and mine. I am sorry I bothered. It is evidently not what the agenda is on here and I will cease and desist any further postings that don't go with the agenda.
Thank you for your time.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online said...

Anonymous,

Please don't take our reply as a reason to stop commenting. We want everyone's opinion. Healthy discussion is always welcome on our blog...and you don't have to agree with us. We only ask that comments be polite. We apologize if it appears that we took your comment as a personal attack. First of all, we did not realize you were responding to Traveling Man. That is the down-side to using written words instead of face-to-face discussion.

Please keep writing and in the future for clarity, if you are responding to a particular post, please, just name the poster first, just as we did.

There are two sides to this issue regarding the Incentives for Volunteer Firemen and we recognize that. Our only position on this topic is that the taxpayers should be given the opportunity to ask questions because it is ultimately going to be the taxpayers that will have to pay the extra money in the form of taxes...the Willowvale Fire Chief had no intentions of doing that according to Councilman Payne. If the public meetings had been scheduled in advance and mailings sent to the homes as stated in the town board resolution, we would not have even bothered to post other than to give the date and time of the public meeting and vote.

No reasonable person will argue whether or not the firefighters deserve the program. The problem is that the Willowvale Fire Company serves a smaller population and has a smaller tax base than say the New Hartford Vol. Fire Dept. The tax increase for the NHFD's incentive program was minimal and not even worth worrying about the cost to the taxpayers.

Perhaps, if the vote is not favorable, some other avenue can be taken to achieve the same goal.

Anonymous said...

Concerned Citizens,

I understand it is a difficult time when there is a proposed tax increase, but also understand that it is very difficult to run a Volunteer Fire Department in this day and age. The time involved in becoming a Firefighter is immense and only getting worse (over 100 hours for basic training) and these men and women dedicate all there spare time for one sole purpose, to protect lives and property of the Willowvale Fire District.

Regarding the proposed program, yes it has a high cost assosicated with it. My Volunteer Fire Department was the first in the area to start this program and many Fire Departments joined. Here's how the system works:

Length of Service Program

1. An active member in good standing with the Fire Department recieves points for various activites including Training, Drills, Meetings, Fire Prevention, and special work details.

2. An active member must make over 10 percent of the calls to be eligible for the program.

3. An active member must obtain a total of 50 points or more every year to earn credit for that year.

The system provides a life insurance policy for the Firefighters family in case of a death and also provides a small monthly retirement for the Firefighter when he has aquired the years.

Although more involved, that is the easy break-down of the program.

This system is a great recruitment tool and I will tell you why. It offers an incentive to join and volunteer with the Department. I know your thinking why do they need an incentive and the reason is the economy has changed. Family's need to work more leaving less time for the increased training requirments. The older and experenced Firefighters are aging and becoming less active. House fires have decreased but still happen meaning training often to stay skillful. Emergency Medical Calls have increased call volume greatly. The system is a good tool for recruitment but also keeps the member active. Every year the Firefighter needs to meet the minimum requirments.

I hope this information is useful for you in understanding the program.