ARKWRIGHT - Only a few members of the public attended the three public hearings held by the Arkwright Town Board on Monday night. One hearing was held to allow public comment on the adoption of Local Law 1 of 2011 to allow the town board to adopt a budget including expenses of special districts and fire districts which will exceed the 2 percent limitation on the tax levy for 2012.
Another was a public hearing on the proposed fire contract submitted to the board by the Village of Cassadaga.
The third was on the proposed budget submitted by the town supervisor to the town board.
The most time was spend on the fire contract with Cassadaga, and the majority of the questions came from the Arkwright Town Board members themselves.
Cassadaga mayor LeeAnn Lazarony and deputy mayor Rodney Waite were present at the meeting to attempt to answer the questions.
Waite explained his methodology for the increase saying, "I went back to how we determined the contract five years ago. The idea was look back five years, get an average, find out what the percentage has increased and come up with a number. Everything has gone up- insurance, fuel, but we've also had to purchase a new fire truck and we're in the process of purchasing a new ambulance."
Waite also had figures showing that 41 percent of Cassadaga's fire calls are in the Town of Arkwright, 13 percent are in a small area of Stockton that is part of another fire district, and that 45 percent of the calls are in Cassadaga itself. He also said if he had figured out the cost based on the percentage of calls, the number would have been higher.
Arkwright councilperson Larry Ball objected that the Comptroller's report of Cassadaga's budget showed a decrease in expenditures for fire protection.
Lazarony asked for a copy of what Ball was looking at so she could comment more directly. She was told there wasn't an extra copy, but she finally got up to look at the paper.
Waite said he had the numbers that went into his calculations, and said that there was more than one line that reflected expenses attributable to the fire contract. For example, he explained that the village put away money in capital fund to pay for the fire truck and ambulance they purchased.
One town resident said, "We should not allow them to solicit in Arkwright. We're paying through donations and now through a tax."
Arkwright Town Supervisor Frederic Norton, asked how the tax levy could remain fairly constant if the costs have increased so much.
Norton asked for copies of the village budget for the last five years. Lazarony and Waite agreed that those could be provided. Norton said he would get them on Friday.
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