Officials eye permanent fire contract

FONDA – Special legislation will be required if the village wants to permanently have fire coverage from the Mohawk Volunteer Fire Department, officials said at a meeting Monday.

In February, the village board voted 4-1 to dissolve the Fonda Volunteer Fire Department. They also voted to contract with the Mohawk Volunteer Fire Department for coverage of the village.

The two-year contract started March 14 after Mohawk approved the move.

After five months of the inclusion, officials in Fonda and Mohawk want to make the contract permanent.

However, Mayor Bill Peeler said a permanent inclusion requires special legislation.

At Monday’s meeting, Bill VanGorder, a member of the Mohawk Board of Fire Commissioners, met with the village’s Board of Trustees to discuss a permanent contract. Joining them were Joseph Glazer, chief of staff for state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, and Gerard Parisi, chief of staff for Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.

Glazer and Parisi verified that consolidation of a fire district and a village requires special legislation. They also said the town’s charter has to be altered so Mohawk can permanently serve the village with fire protection.

VanGorder said Mohawk’s Board of Fire Commissioners wants a permanent inclusion as much as Fonda does. He said the number of fire department members has increased from 30 to 40 with the inclusion of former volunteers at the village’s fire department. The department’s response time also has improved, he said.

“What’s good for Fonda is good for us,” VanGorder told Glazer and Parisi.

VanGorder and Peeler agreed that creating the permanent contract before the current contract ends would be ideal.

Glazer and Parisi agreed to meet at some point to discuss the correct way for the village and town to create a permanent contract.