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Grant has strings attached

$1.3 million for Fire Department covers hiring nine employees in village

February 16, 2013

The village of Fredonia has a decision to make about whether or not to accept $1.3 million in grant money, which will not come without a financial commitment from the village....

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Feb-18-13 9:36 AM

So this is supposed to reduce overtime?

No likely, and in fact with this grant there would likely be an increase in overime since then be 15 full time, and 2 part time people whose vacation and call offs would need to be covered, afterall accepting this grant would require there to be two paid men on duty instead of one.

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Feb-18-13 6:28 AM

Captain, I really can't. My experience in that particular issue is very limited. I do agree, it doesn't seem to pass that "smell test". To say that ambulance calls will pay for these extra firemen after the grant runs out is conjecture at best, a fabrication at worst. It's not hard to figure out who "shutterfly" is though, is it? I would hope that any village official who belongs to the fire dept. would be abstaining on any vote.

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Feb-17-13 4:59 PM

By all means, shutterfly, keep digging your own graves, and never stop blaming Albany for why people continue to move out of Chat Co.

Christopher, as a former union president and strong advocate for public servants, could you defend what is apparently becoming a common practice with our local FDs? As shutterfly admits, conspiring with insurance companies by low-balling private ambulances and billing half of what private ambulances do, does this sound legal to you?

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Feb-17-13 3:03 PM

A power grab, no more, no less. And a huge future cost to the village. So, with a lack of volunteers, the logic in a declining economy is to saddle the village tax payers with a future debt of mid-six figures? Unbelievable!

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Feb-17-13 2:59 PM

Captain you are incorrect as property tax has nothing to do with payment for transportation. The revenue would come from Medical insurance i.e.;Medicare, medicaid and private insurances. This is a reimbursement billing for services and supplies used on the Ambulance and would only reimburse what was able to be recovered without billing the patient anything outside what the insurance normally reimburses. These costs (to Insurance) would be less than half of what the commercial service charges for their total transport bill. Localresident, you need to know that two of the Village trustees are representatives to the Fire Dept. and come through the back entrance frequently for meetings. One is also a member so to comment about back door being where the "shadiest deal happen" is not accurate! Please don't post inaccurate information become informed and understand that your Fire Department is working through a combination of our Career staff and Volunteers to provide the best

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Feb-17-13 2:33 PM

Lets straighten a few thing out. First, we are in a time where it is more and more difficult to get people to volunteer. This is a problem both County wide as well as Nationwide. The Fredonia Fire Dept. has a serious manpower shortage attending calls. This is not a scam or "money grab"and is meant to adequately staff the Fire Department to meet NFPA absolute minimum standards. The grant was applied for under those requirements and (9) is the number needed to staff for (4) men around the clock. The SAFER grant has been applied for many years and this is the first time that the FD was successful in being awarded. This is a grant and fully funds wages and benefits for (2) years So after 24 months other sources of revenue would need to be found to retain as many of the hired staff as possible however, The Village Trustees, Fire Department administration and Current staff realize we must be fiscally responsible. Transporting is one way of increasing revenue to support staff

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Feb-17-13 11:40 AM

The reason few object to being billed by the local FD for ambulatory care & transport is b/c homeowners' insurance is paying the tab. It's one of those: "who cares, as long as I'm not paying."

Will the same people keep quiet when/if Dunkirk decides to expand its billing authority and start charging residents for other municipal services that are already paid for with property taxes but AREN'T covered under homeowners' insurance, such as rubbish collection? Using the same logic to justify DFD charges, the city apparently has the legal right to start charging additional fees for weekly rubbish collections, among others.

Just think, the city now has the ability, and a great opportunity, to raise more revenue w/o raising taxes.

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Feb-17-13 9:52 AM

baseball; who said anything about damaged equipment? I find it amusing that you skirt the issue by saying Alstar charge homeowners (thru their insurance), hence it's OK for DFD to do the same using the same method? What you refuse to acknowledge is that municipal services provided to residents living within that community are already fully funded thru property taxes.

I suspect the only way this "double-dipping" scam will stop is when insurance companies seek restitution for all past payments after accusing the city & DFD of insurance fraud.

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Feb-17-13 2:25 AM

Fred, thanks for straightening that out. What still is a mystery though, is why allofasudden the FFD needs 9 more people?...

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Feb-16-13 9:45 PM

FYI Captain, if there is a fire at your house and fire dept. equipment is damaged, your home owners insurance can be billed for the damaged equipment

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Feb-16-13 8:31 PM

Grant money is granted to you. It does not have to be repaid and there is no interest.

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Feb-16-13 2:19 PM

Commentor, some of the people on the board are buddy-buddy with the FFD, and more than they should be. Always watch the back entrance for the shadiest deals to happen.

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Feb-16-13 2:15 PM

Don't grants have to be paid back? And if so, isn't there interest involved? What is the term? If that is the case (and really, even if it isn't), this is the FFD scamming people again.

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Feb-16-13 1:33 PM


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Feb-16-13 12:24 PM

What's next, charging property owners individual fees for municipal services involving snowplowing our streets, weekly rubbish collections, local police patrols, etc? These are all services that already paid for thru our property taxes.

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Feb-16-13 12:01 PM

If firemen are called to put a fire out at your house, can they bill you for it? NO!...and the reason being you are already paying for their services thru your property taxes. How do you not comprehend this?

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Feb-16-13 11:54 AM

The key difference is Alstar doesn't double-bill patients, while the DFD bills a property owner's insurance company, even though the DFD is already fully funded thru property taxes. Just b/c the DFD waives the deductible is irrelevant.

I predict a legal challenge to this double-billing scheme is coming, and I predict the DFD will lose.

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Feb-16-13 11:13 AM

I believe insurance companies get charged, with no co-pay. The insurance companies get charged anyhow by alstar ambulance and the people have to pay a co-pay and what insurance does not pay for alstar!

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Feb-16-13 11:08 AM

Looks like a Pie in the sky. Unfortunately a COW pie.

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Feb-16-13 11:05 AM

Grant money aside, wages & benefits for paid firemen comes directly from property taxes. To consider charging property owners an additional fee (like they do in Dunkirk) to pay for services that are already fully funded thru our taxes is clearly double billing (being charged twice for the same service). I truly don't understand why insurance companies haven't legally challenged it yet.

If village officials approve this unethical scheme, it's a blatant abuse against the very people who elected them, just like they do in Dunkirk.

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Feb-16-13 10:48 AM

Forget the grant. It ain't worth it.

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Feb-16-13 10:41 AM

Grants are often good ideas and can lead to more services for a municipality. I have seen them work well in the past. However, nine employees??? C'mon, that is ridiculous. For the village to go along with picking up nine employees is inconceivable. For this fellow to go to the board with that request in these times is beyond belief. He must be very confident or out of touch.

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Feb-16-13 10:09 AM

One of the more blatant, self serving departmental money grabs I've seen of late. Not the only one, but certainly one of the worst.

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Feb-16-13 9:42 AM

If Fredonia does charge for transports will that off set the cost, Fredonia is advanced life support, so they can make more than what Dunkirk does and the volunteers won't be run out of Town like they did in Dunkirk

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Feb-16-13 9:40 AM

Fredonia would still have less paid staff than Dunkirk and still handle about the same number of calls, by the way volunteers can work with paid and still charge for transport, the observer reporter was wrong about that!

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