Officials: Fire dept. merger is eyed

FLORIDA – The town is considering merging the volunteer fire departments for Florida and Fort Hunter, officials said.

Jake Krohn, a member of the Florida Volunteer Fire Department, said a meeting was held Friday in Town Hall, with representatives of both departments meeting with members of the Town Board to discuss a possible merger.

Krohn said the meeting came about because of concerns about the cost of operating the Fort Hunter department. The Fort Hunter Fire Department requested about $80,000 for its annual budget from the town, he said.

Tim Haegi, the fire chief in Fort Hunter, said that amount was correct, but would not discuss it.

Haegi said he did attend the meeting Friday and would not address questions about a possible merger.

Krohn said officials are looking at creating a larger fire district.

Steve Anderson, the fire chief in Florida, said the merger is being discussed, but it’s too early to say if it will happen.

Anderson said he did not attend the meeting.

“I can’t see the two merging myself, but it’s hard to say,” Anderson said.

Anderson said the Town Board called the meeting, and the board would have the final authority to approve a merger.

The next meeting is scheduled for March.

Anderson simply said the board would meet with two members of each department and “go from there.”

The next meeting is scheduled for March.

Supervisor William Strevy could not be reached for comment.

Discussion of consolidating fire departments is nothing new.

Jd Downing, the Glen volunteer fire chief, said, in December, there has been discussion among some fire departments to try and combine several individual volunteer fire departments – including departments in Glen, Fultonville, Fonda, Tribes Hill, Mohawk and Fort Hunter – under one advisory board.

In recent months, village officials in Fonda have considered dissolving its fire department to allow the town of Mohawk’s volunteer fire department to cover the village.

Fonda Mayor Bill Peeler has cited the cost of maintaining the village’s department – about $43,000 a year, compared to having Mohawk provide coverage for about $22,000 a year – as a key issue.

However, members of the village’s fire department were critical of the Fonda Village Board for allegedly moving to dissolve the department without informing the firefighters.

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