By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO January 3, 2006 The new fire district for the Village of Monticello and for a sizable portion of the Town of Thompson got off to a jumpstart Thursday evening in the boards first organizational meeting.
The new district was created at the same time a new $5 million firehouse was being created. Exactly $3.12 million in expenses remain to be paid off and will likely need to be bonded by the taxpayers, according to department officials. The department will be taking over the $3.12 million the Village of Monticello bonded earlier this year for the work. The state has already contributed $1.8 million, and the fire department has raised an additional $250,000.
The department was expecting to move into the building a couple days after Thursdays meeting. Some leaks on the roof, outstanding electrical work and caulking are all that have delayed the move so far. But the leaks appear to have been repaired.
The price for the construction went up significantly after a large amount of waste was found under the ground, said Village of Monticello Manager Richard Sush.
The joint fire district boards first meeting was certainly historic, chaired by George Kinch. Also on the board are Philip Conaty, William Culligan, Dean Gilmour and Joseph Kenny. They were chosen by the village and the town.
The districts treasurer is Gary Lasher, whose annual salary was approved at $10,000. Its secretary is James Kilgore, whose salary will also be $10,000. The districts legal counsel has not been chosen yet, but attorney Mark Butler helped the department form the district and advised the board at the first meeting.
Fire Chief Glenn Somers said the new firehouse is a long time coming. Its going to be a great asset to the community and all of the firefighters. Its something that weve been trying to do for a long time.
He said the old department was in bad shape and wasnt meant to handle todays larger, heavier trucks. Of course the states plan to widen Pleasant Street pushed the project into immediate necessity.
He said the new district will help the department financially, in that it will be able to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.
The districts overall operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $1.264 million.
There are currently three paid full-time firefighters, including Director of Fire Safety Carl Houman.
The department is currently advertising for a provisional firefighter at a salary of $34,649.
The two full-time firefighters are paid $47,556, while Houman is paid $49,036.