Joint fire commissioners approve $1.65 budget

| 22 Feb 2012 | 02:11

    Spending plan has no plans for new equipment, By Claudia Wysocki MONROE - The Board of Commissioners of Monroe’s new joint fire district approved a $1,657,691 budget Tuesday night following a public hearing. No changes were made to the budget. “The numbers are good for now, and no plans for any capital expenditures - for example new equipment,” said Thomas Sullivan, chairman of the five-member board. Taxpayers will vote for the fire service on a separate line item in the voting booth. A particular concern for many of the volunteer firefighters has been the utilization of the Monroe Ambulance Corps and not the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) affiliated with the fire companies. According to Harriman Commissioner Tom Lowe, the firefighters who are now EMTs will work in conjunction with the ambulance corp. The difference is that instead of fire trucks responding to a medical call, just the EMTs will respond. “ People are not volunteering their service anymore,” said Sullivan. “And that’s the problem. Our volunteers have full time jobs and can get burnt out.” The new district becomes operational on Jan. 1. Sullivan explained how the fire companies would respond at that time when a call comes in from the 911 emergency center: All three fire companies would not necessary go out. For example, for a hypothetical call at the BJ’s store, Mombasha and Harriman would respond. Lakeside would be too far, Sullivan said, for that call. If a call came in for Lakes Road, Monroe and Lakeside would be sent and not Harriman. Sullivan said the chief can always request additional companies when they are needed. In other town business The county is going to a single-recycle garbage pickup. All recyclables, be it paper or bottles, will be put out in one container by the property owner. The recyclables will be separated at the county transfer station. The new recyclables plan is expected to start in January. The Town of Monroe has an Ethics Commission but is lacking members. The commission holds meetings one to three times a year. The commission is responsible for investigating any complaints against a town employee or elected town official. Interested candidates should contact the town hall. Senior Citizens may get a break if they own a dog. The town will hold a public hearing on Monday, Nov. 8, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Monroe Senior Center to consider the elimination of the $10 dog license fee for seniors. If approved, seniors would only have to show identification of their age to get their dog license. There will be no salary increases for town elected officials except for the highway superintendent position. The soon-to-be elected superintendent’s salary will be $70,000, not including benefits. The new highway chief will be serving out the remaining term of the late Roy Montanye, who retired earlier this year. Supervisor Sandy Leonard said the Town Board does not intend to tap into the town’s fund balance as part of its tentative $7.2 million budget. “We’ll have to tighten our belts and cut costs,” she said. The supervisor said the budget is a compilation of budget requests from department heads. “That’s our starting point. It is never what we wind up with.: Leonard said budget meetings are ongoing until the Nov. 8 public hearing. The budget cuts,” she said,” will begin next week. No conclusion should be drawn from the tentative figure.” Voting in Monroe There are 17,485 registered voters within in the Town of Monroe, according to Orange County Board of Elections figures. There are 31 election districts in the Town of Monroe. The town of Monroe is unique in one aspect: One of its three villages, Kiryas Joel, has 12 election districts. There are 19 election districts in the rest of the town. At voting time, there are 6,685 eligible voters in Kiryas Joel; 10,800 eligible voters in the rest of the town, including the Village of Monroe and the portion of the Village of Harriman within the town. At a recent meeting, town board members reminded voters the importance of getting out to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The John DeAngelis hall will no longer be used as a polling place. The county has sent those voters information where they are to cast their votes.