Forestville fire protection contracts OK’d by Hanover

HANOVER — The last-minute dissolution of the village of Forestville has put more than a few wrinkles in the town of Hanover’s plans, but officials have ironed out a big one: fire protection contracts.

During the town board meeting this month, Town Supervisor Todd Johnson opened the “public hearing for proposed fire protection contracts with Forestville Fire Dept. Inc.,” which included District 1 and 2.

Board members declined to speak on the matter, so Johnson moved on to public comments, inviting anyone who wished to share their thoughts to stand and speak. But only Kyle Barthel, chief of the Forestville Fire Department, raised his hand and stood.

“At this time I’d like it if you guys could put this on hold until both of our attorneys can discuss this whole situation that we had talked about before. Apparently our attorney has been trying to contact Mr. (Jeffrey) Passafaro (Hanover town attorney) and has not had any luck with that, so we would like to put this on hold for now,” he said.

Johnson thanked Barthel, but instead of holding off the entire vote, he called for motions to close the public hearing, re-enter into the regular meeting, then enter into executive session — with both Passafaro and Barthel in attendance.

After some time, officials came out of their small meeting room to rejoin the crowd. Johnson called for a motion to decide on the matter, while noting that he would abstain from voting. (Johnson himself is the Silver Creek Fire Department’s chief.)

The rest of the councilmen voted unanimously to accept the proposed fire protection contracts as they were written on the agenda.

For District 1, the cost for 2017 is “$33,167; 2018 (and) 2019 renewal to be the lower of 1 percent or the inflation rate published by the state of New York for tax cap purposes;” and District 2’s cost is “28,737; 2018 (and) 2019 renewal to be the lower of 1 percent or the inflation rate published by the state of New York for tax cap purposes.”

Hanover officials continue to trouble-shoot other issues surrounding Forestville’s dissolution, such as managing the former village’s upkeep and debt, especially from June 1 to Dec. 31; ascertaining how to obtain available state grant money for towns that have absorbed villages; and figuring out the best way to coordinate youth recreation activities.

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