Supervisor Wood Says 12-15 Months Needed
To Allow For Orderly Transition Of Duties
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Failing to vote to dissolve last night in the face of objections from the audience, the Town of Oneonta’s Board of Fire Commissioners is planning to meet again tomorrow evening to try again.
The commissioners have scheduled a meeting for 6 p.m. Thursday at Elm Park United Methodist Church, and may take two actions: One, pass a proposed $395,000 budget; two, dissolve.
Town Supervisor Bob Wood said a few minutes ago it seems like the fire commissioners are having “a temper tantrum.”
And, Wood said, if the commissioners vote to dissolve, the town will sue them, seeking through an Article 78 proceeding to prevent such an action for 12-15 months, to allow an orderly transition.
He said Tuesday’s presentation on both issues – the budget and dissolution – were “positively horrible.”
The town fire district is paying $1.1 million this year to receive fire protection from the city’s Oneonta Fire Department.
The supervisor said it’s unlikely City Hall would provide coverage for $395,000 – the amount a budget vote would require – leaving key areas of the town – Southside and the east and west ends, in particular – without fire protection.
Negotiations between the fire commissioners and the city on a new fire-protection contract have been stymied for more than two years.
However, the city has continued fire protection under an order from state Supreme Court Judge Michael V. Coccoma, who in January 2017 directed fire protection to continue through the end of this year, at $1.1 million, while negotiations continued.
Three of the fire commissioners, Chairman Johna Peachin, and Fred Volpe and Ron Peters, appear to favor dissolution. The two new commissioners, Al Rubin and Michelle Catan, appear to favor continued negotiations.